Lebanon Woman Pleads Guilty to $415,000 Investment Fraud Scheme
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Lebanon, Mo., woman pleaded guilty in federal court today to a Ponzi scheme in which she stole more than $415,000 from victim investors.
Terina K. Carney, also known as Terina Humphrey, 49, of Lebanon, waived her right to a grand jury and pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge David P. Rush to a federal information that charges her with wire fraud, money laundering and failure to file a tax return.
By pleading guilty today, Carney admitted that she defrauded numerous investors, who lost a total of $415,722 as a result of Carney’s wire fraud scheme from December 2012 to January 2015.
Carney was the owner of Riverside Lease, LLC. Carney told investors their money would be used as an advance payment on behalf of a third-party business, in order to allow the business to continue operating while it secured long-term funding from a bank. Carney promised to obtain a high rate of return for investors, from 10 percent to 30 percent on top of their original investment. Investors were told that, once the business received its long-term funding from the bank, they would receive their original investment plus interest from those funds. Investors were also told that Riverside Lease held their money and there was little to no risk of the investor losing their principal investment because the third-party business never had direct access to their money.
After reviewing bank account information, agents determined that once the investor’s money was received, the money was never used to provide short-term financing for any other business. Based on financial records, Carney actually used the money to pay other investors or to pay for personal expenses. Agents also determined that the monthly statements sent to investors, which claimed the amount of money held within their individual investment account, were also false as the bank accounts were repeatedly emptied of any monies to pay other investors or unrelated bills.
Carney never registered with the State of Missouri as an investment adviser, investment adviser representative, broker-dealer, broker-dealer agent, or issuer agent.
Carney also admitted that she deposited $520,119 from victim investors during 2012, 2013 and 2014, but she did not file federal income tax returns for any of these years.
Under federal statutes, Carney is subject to a sentence of up to 31 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $525,000. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Carney. It was investigated by the FBI, IRS-Criminal Investigation and the Missouri Secretary of State’s Office.