Federal investigators have shut down a Ponzi scheme that bilked more than $360 million from investors across the country ranging from savvy family offices to professionals, retirees and pro athletes. Authorities say ringleaders Jay B. Ledford of Colleyville, Texas, and Kevin B. Merrill of Maryland used a complicated network of shell companies and multiple layers of deceit, promising significant profits from collecting on and reselling bundles of delinquent consumer debt, including that of car loans, student loans and credit cards. Instead of purchasing the investments as promised, the fraudsters used the money to fund a lifestyle of exotic cars, jewelry, private jets and more than $25 million in casino gambling.
As ripped off investors learn of their losses, attorney Derrick Boyd of Texas-based Boyd Powers & Williamson says the actions by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Attorney generally return just a fraction of the assets lost by defrauded investors.
“Federal prosecutors are effective at bringing punishment to fraudsters, but civil litigation is often necessary to hold responsible those who enabled or profited from the scheme and to help restore some of the investors’ losses,” said Mr. Boyd, who has successfully recouped money for investors harmed by similar schemes.
“This is a reminder of the importance of meticulous due diligence. The lesson here is that wolves appear in sheep’s clothing, and even sophisticated investors can be deceived by unscrupulous thieves. These guys are really good at looking legitimate, and even the most vigilant investor can be fooled.”
For more information or to speak with Mr. Boyd, contact Robert Tharp at 800-559-4534 or Robert@androvett.com.