Former New Jersey Man Charged In $18 Million Ponzi Scheme
TRENTON, N.J. – A former Monmouth County, N.J., man was arrested today on a charge that he operated an $18 million Ponzi scheme involving victims from New Jersey, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Louis J. Spina, 56, formerly of Colts Neck, N.J., and now living in Miami, Fla., was charged by complaint with one count of wire fraud. He is scheduled to appear this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Lois H. Goodman in Trenton federal court for an initial appearance.
According to the complaint:
Between August 2010 and November 2013, Spina collected $18 million from 28 investors. Spina allegedly represented to the investors that he would invest their funds through his business, LJS Trading LLC, using algorithmic computer software, and that the investors would receive guaranteed monthly rates of return ranging from 9 to 14 percent. Spina commingled all of the investor funds together in one bank account. He only transferred $8 million of the investor funds to a trading account, which he then lost in unsuccessful trading. He allegedly used the remaining $10 million to pay the investors’ monthly interest payments, to return portions of some investors’ principals, and to pay for his own personal expenses, including car purchases/payments, luxury apartment rental payments, and a $400,000 donation to a private university.
The wire fraud count with which Spina is charged is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford, and U.S. Secret Service, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James Mottola, for the investigation leading to today’s arrest.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah M. Wolfe of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Trenton.