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Press Release

Man Who Plundered Investors’ Money in $8.1 Million Ponzi Scheme Sentenced to 90 Months in Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of California

NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY – January 22, 2024

SAN DIEGO – Richard Lee Ramirez was sentenced in federal court today to seven-and-a-half years in prison for running a Ponzi scheme that resulted in millions of dollars in losses to investors.

Between 2018 and 2022, Ramirez and his company, JMJ Capital Group (JMJ), obtained more than $8.1 million from dozens of investors and caused more than $5.4 million in losses through his scheme and misrepresentations.

Ramirez was indicted by a federal grand jury in September 2022 and pleaded guilty to securities fraud and money laundering charges in August 2023. In addition to Ramirez’s prison sentence, the court ordered forfeiture of $8,188,928 and restitution to 34 victims totaling $5,440,192.50.

The defendant solicited investments by lying to investors. Ramirez made several different misrepresentations, telling various investors, for instance: JMJ purchased and resold personal protective equipment (PPE); factored accounts receivable; sold furniture to major home improvement retailers; and contracted with a cruise line to rebuild and refurbish ships’ air conditioning units. JMJ did no such business.

Ramirez promised investors high short-term and medium-term returns on their money—between 10 and 30 percent—but they never received those returns. Ramirez also falsely told investors they could withdraw their money at any time, and sent them fake funding agreements and falsified account statements to carry out the scheme.

Rather than using investors’ money as promised, Ramirez used it to pay for his own personal expenses and to make Ponzi-style payments to other investors. He spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on travel, lodging, clothing, jewelry, and entertainment, and he spent over a half million dollars of investor funds on luxury cars including a Rolls Royce and Cadillac Escalade. Ramirez also used the money to take luxury vacations, to charter private jets and yachts, and to make an escrow payment on a property in San Diego County.

“Fraud and greed don’t pay unless you are in the market for a lengthy prison sentence. We hope this outcome provides some relief to the 34 victims, many of whom suffered devastating losses,” said U.S. Attorney Tara McGrath.

“The lasting effects of financial crimes on unsuspecting victims can be devasting both personally and economically,” said FBI San Diego Special Agent in Charge Stacey Moy. “The FBI and its law enforcement partners will continue to seek justice for individuals and businesses who are victimized by criminals who seek to defraud others for personal gain.”

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Peter Horn and Kevin Mokhtari.

DEFENDANT                                               Case Number 22cr2264-BAS                                       

Richard Lee Ramirez                                      Age:    54                                Encinitas, CA


Securities Fraud – Title 18, U.S.C., Sections 78j(b), 78ff, and Title 17, C.F.R., Section 240.10b-5

Money Laundering – Title 18, U.S.C., Section 1957

Criminal Forfeiture – Title 18, U.S.C., Sections 981(a)(1)(C), 982(a)(1), 982(b), and Title 28, U.S.C., Section 2461(c)

Maximum penalty: Twenty years in prison and $5 million fine


Federal Bureau of Investigation

Securities and Exchange Commission


Media Relations Director Kelly Thornton (619) 546-9726 or

Updated January 22, 2024

Securities, Commodities, & Investment Fraud
Press Release Number: CAS24-0122-Ramirez