Results tagged “Ponzi Scheme” from The Court Reporter

Agoura Hills Man Going to Prison for Stealing Millions During An Investment Scheme

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An Agoura Hills man who used his business to defraud dozens of victims in a multi-million dollar investment scheme was sentenced to seven years in federal prison this week, according to federal authorities.


A federal judge also ordered Dean P. Gross, 50, to pay restitution of approximately $15.4 million.


The investigation indicated that 29 of the investors suffered $15.4 million in losses.


Gross, who was charged with operating the investment scheme between 2006 and 2009, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud on August 6, 2012. 

While running the scheme, Gross collected more than $35.8 million from approximately 39 investors, according to federal authorities.


The investigation indicated that 29 of the investors suffered $15.4 million in losses.


Gross operated the scheme through his home business, which he called Bridon Entertainment.


When recruiting investors, federal officials claim that Gross falsely represented to victims that he was a veteran of the advertising industry. He made claims that he had significant connections with his company Bridon Entertainment that allowed him to purchase advertising time and space at discounted rates, federal officials state.


Gross falsely advised investors that he would then resell the discounted advertising to large, well-known corporations at a substantial profit.


The investigation revealed that Gross never used investors' money to buy or sell advertising and that he did not have relationships with the well-known corporations he said would buy the ads.


In classic Ponzi-style fashion, investors were paid with money from new investors, and none of their returns were generated from advertising sales.


The investigation also revealed that Gross used millions of dollars in investor money to pay for personal expenses, including the construction of a vacation house.



N.C. Man Sentenced to 50 Years in Prison for Ponzi Scheme

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A 47-year-old man was sentenced today to 50 years in prison in connection with a $40 million Ponzi scheme he operated, according to federal prosecutors.
From April 2007 to September 2009, Keith Franklin Simmons, of West Jefferson, North Carolina and his co-conspirators induced more than 400 victims nationwide to invest more than $40 million in Black Diamond, a supposed business trading in the foreign currency exchange market.
Simmons used the victims' money to pay for a lavish lifestyle, according to federal authorities.

Santa Ana Attorney Sentenced To Prison for Investment Scam

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SANTA ANA -- An Orange County attorney was sentenced today to more than seven years for stealing more than $25 million stemming from an investment scheme, according to federal authorities.


Jeanne Rowzee, 53, of Irvine and her "cohorts bilked scores of investors with empty promises," U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. stated.  "Rowzee played a key role in this scheme by promising huge returns on investments and pretending to be an experienced securities fraud admitting that she helped bilk victims who thought they were investing in public investments in private entities (PIPE's) and money market programs."


Rowzee  and her co-defendant James Halstead, 65, of Tustin, promised returns of 25 percent to 35 percent every three or four months, according to federal officials.


Halstead was sentenced two years ago to 10 years in federal prison.


About 140 investors suffered more than $20 million in losses.


The victims' money was never invested. Halstead and Rowzee instead

used the money to make Ponzi payments to some investors and to support their lavish lifestyles, federal officials state.

According to court documents, Halstead used $191,005 of victim-investors'

money to buy a Ferrari, more than $1 million to purchase a home for himself in the Las Vegas area, and $162,350 to buy a Porsche.



The Court Reporter
Raul Hernandez has spent years writing stories about the drama that unfolds in the courtroom. Here he answers common questions, share some insights on the judicial system and passes along some of the little things that make the Ventura County courts an interesting place to be. You can contact him at