Federal Grand Jury Indicts Irving Woman on Wire Fraud Charges Stemming From $1 Million Ponzi Scheme
DALLAS —Nemelee Liwanag Jiao, 47, of Irving, Texas, was indicted last week by a federal grand jury in Dallas, Texas, on two counts of wire fraud for orchestrating a Ponzi scheme that cost at least 35 investors more than $1,000,000, announced U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas.
Jiao made her initial appearance last week before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ramirez, who ordered her to surrender her passport and released her on bond pending trial.
According to the indictment, beginning in February 2009 and continuing through September 2016, Jiao devised a scheme to cause individuals to invest in promissory notes purportedly issued by Shepherd’s Light Learning Center and Lord of Peace Learning Center, two non-profit schools located in the Philippines, but instead used the invested funds for her personal benefit. Jiao raised at least $1,000,000 from at least 35 investors.
Specifically, Jiao represented to investors that she was a representative of Shepherd’s Light and Lord of Peace and entered into investment contracts, also known as promissory notes, with investors falsely promising rates of return of 10% to 100% on investments. Jiao also promised repayment of principle and interest resulting from the investment within 30 days to one year following the investment. Many of the investment contracts were notarized to make the investments appear legitimate. Jiao then directed investors to write checks and wire funds to bank accounts controlled by her. Jiao used the investors’ funds for her own benefit, including a country club membership and personal expenses.
The indictment includes a forfeiture allegation that would require Jiao, upon conviction, to forfeit funds in the amount constituting the proceeds traceable to the offense.
An indictment is an accusation by a federal grand jury, and a defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence unless proven guilty. If convicted, however, the maximum statutory penalty for wire fraud is 20 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.
If you believe you were the victim of criminal fraud committed by Nemelee Liwanag Jiao, please contact the FBI at 972-559-5000.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is in charge of the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Walters is in charge of the prosecution.
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