United States Attorney Kenyen R. Brown of the Southern District of Alabama announces that defendants Stephen Merry, David Petersen, and Yaman Sencan were sentenced to federal prison for 60 months each for their roles in a massive, multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme. Following their sentences, Merry and Sencan face potential deportation to the United Kingdom and Turkey, respectively. In addition, the defendants must pay $2,891,898.95 in restitution to seventeen victim investors, as well as pay $2,000 each in special assessment fees to the court.
Merry, Petersen, and Sencan were convicted of conspiracy, securities fraud, and wire fraud following a week-long jury trial in December 2013. At trial, the evidence established that the three defendants played various roles related to a massive investment fraud scheme. Investors believed their money was being sent to a company called Westover Energy Trading Partners where it would purportedly be traded using a super computer. Investors were provided with weekly statements which indicated that their money was being traded and that it was continually earning a profit. However, the super computer was never fully operational, and the investors’ money was not traded as they believed. Furthermore, beginning in 2011, the defendants stopped sending the money to Westover all together. Rather, they kept the money to enrich themselves and to make Ponzi payments to investors. In total, the defendants obtained $4.6 million dollars from investors. Approximately, $1.6 million of that money was paid back out to other investors in the form of Ponzi payments.
This case was investigated by FBI-Mobile and prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Alabama.