A 42-year-old Burnsville man was sentenced to 4.5 years in federal prison by a federal judge in Wisconsin earlier this week. The Minnesota resident had been convicted of running a Ponzi scheme leading up to his sentencing. The U.S. Attorney’s Office argued that the financial scheme that he devised allowed him to dupe unsuspecting elderly individuals out of $1.2 million over several years.
Court documents spell out how the defendant had originally been running a coin collection business in both Minnesota and Wisconsin up until a few years ago. He’d spent most of his time in the latter up until recently when state lawmakers instituted laws that prohibited ex-felons from operating businesses in this sector.
Those same records also detail how the defendant defrauded various elderly individuals into turning over 46 or more precious metals and coins to him from 2010 onward. Prosecutors argue that he told his customers that he needed to take their coins to have them evaluated but that he’d never return them. He sold them off and pocketed the money instead.
Some of the companies that the man ran here in Minnesota were highlighted in a news story in 2011. The media outlet was trying to draw attention to the seedy characters that work within the precious metals industry at the time. The investigators had found that most of the individuals who owned such companies were con artists, ex-convicts and addicts. Minnesota lawmakers have since instituted laws that allow for more state oversight of the industry. Current regulations prohibit anyone with a conviction for financial crimes within the past 10 years from operating within it.
Many of the defendant’s former associates have already been convicted of similar financial crimes as the Burnsville man.
There are many laws on the books here in Minnesota that allow consumers that have been defrauded an opportunity to report such suspicions. State and federal agencies must then follow certain steps to investigate such claims. These entities may respond by filing criminal charges or assessing fines and other civil penalties for any violations of existing regulations or laws.
A consumer fraud attorney in Vadnais Heights can help you in determining what course of action that you should take if you think that you’ve been deceived by someone else.