Report: $364 million Ponzi scheme posing as investment firm blew cash on supercars

Three men have been arrested on suspicion of fraudulently obtaining $364 million, some of which was reportedly spent on a lavish collection of exotic supercars.

Kevin Merrill, 53; Jay Ledford, 54; and Cameron Jezierski, 28, have been indicted, and face charges of conspiracy, wire fraud, identity theft, and money laundering.

According to the indictment, as published by The Baltimore Sun, the three began the Ponzi scheme in 2013, telling investors that they would buy up consumer debt, for which they said they would receive payments or re-sell to third-party buyers. Some payments would be made back to early investors using the money of those that would hand over their money later, though a significant portion was allegedly pocketed by Merrill, Ledford, and Jezierski.

Prosecutors say $73 million of the $364 million of which they defrauded investors was earmarked for personal interests, which include diamond jewelry, a boat, $25 million worth of gambling at casinos, nine expensive homes across four states, a share in a private jet, motorcycles, and of course, 26 high-end cars, some of which are listed below:

2008 Bugatti Veyron
2013 Ferrari California
2014 BMW M6 Gran Coupe
2014 Ferrari F12 Berlinetta
2014 Pagani Huayra
2014 Lamborghini Aventador Roadster
2014 Mercedes-Benz S63 (also a 2015)
2015 Bentley Flying Spur
2016 Ferrari 488 (two)
2016 Tesla Model S
2017 Audi R8 5.2 Plus
2017 Lamborghini Huracan Roadster
2017 Lamborghini Aventador
2017 Land Rover Range Rover (two)
2017 Porsche 911 Turbo S
2017 Rolls-Royce Dawn
2017 Rolls-Royce Wraith
2018 McLaren 720S
2018 Ferrari 488 Spider
2018 Lamborghini Huracan

Other, less-exotic vehicles were purchased, including a Ford Explorer, which Merrill may have bought for his wife or girlfriend with the fraudulently-obtained cash, according to files obtained by The Baltimore Sun. A list of several motorcycles was also reportedly bought with the dirty money.

"Federal prosecutors, FBI agents, and our SEC partners together interrupted an ongoing fraud scheme, with the potential to victimize even more people," stated U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur in a release by the U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Maryland.

"According to the indictment, the defendants lured investors through an elaborate web of lies, duping them into paying millions of dollars into this Ponzi scheme. Most of these investors are just learning that they have been victimized. The effects of this kind of fraud can be devastating. We urge anyone who thinks they may be a victim to contact the FBI at"

"The FBI takes our responsibility to investigate and pursue those who commit fraud for personal gain very seriously,” added Gordon B. Johnson of the Baltimore Division of the FBI.

"We will continue working with our law enforcement partners to hold accountable those who use illegal means and criminal behavior to take advantage of others. We are committed to protecting investors from the illegal and deceptive practices Mr. Merrill and Ledford used to defraud investors out of their hard earned money and savings."

It would be recalled that similar fraudulent scheme, Mavrodi Mundial Movement {MMM} had some couple of years ago, defrauded millions of Nigerians of their hard earned money, after which operators of the fraudulent cleverly disappeared from Nigeria without any arrest.

As a matter of fact, managing director of the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation {NDIC}, Umaru Ibrahim, reportedly said there was nothing else the agency could do for victims, except to offer prayers, when the scheme, cleverly suspended its window in Nigeria due to what it called ‘heavy workload on the system.’

Ibrahim who was said to have spoken to journalists then at the Workshop for Business Editors and Finance Correspondents in Kaduna, reportedly said the corporation would not relent in calling on Nigerians, sensitizing and enlightening them on the dangers of patronizing wonder banks, according to a Daily Post report

He said beside the MMM case, there were some new cases of the emergence of the wonder banks in recent times in places like Enugu, Kaduna and Plateau states.

“For us, we already told Nigerians that MMM are not recognise, they are illegal, but some insisted that they are legal, all hands must be on deck to educate the public, today is MMM, tomorrow it could be YYY”, he said.
~Additional report by MSN

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