Joseph A. Dawson, of Fox Lake, Illinois, was sentenced this week to four-and-a-half
years in prison for his role in a $3.3 million
Ponzi scheme that defrauded approximately two dozen investors ("Man sentenced
to 4 years for $3.3M Ponzi scheme," Sun-Times Media Wire, March 9, 2011).
Dawson was charged in August of last year with engaging in a Ponzi-like
scheme and misappropriating $1 million of investor funds for his own purposes,
according to an Aug. 17, 2010release by the Department of Justice. He was also accused of misrepresenting key
facts of the investments and distributing falsified
account statements to investors.
According to the release, Dawson, a commodity futures and securities trader,
was the owner of LEAP Fund and Dawson Trading, LLC. From 2004 through
mid-2009, Dawson sold 26 investors approximately $3.7 million worth of
guaranteed investments in Dawson Trading, which were primarily promissory
notes. In addition to a safety guarantee, the notes promised fixed rates
of return plus a high percentage of the trading profits. Investor loses
were close to $3 million.
In addition to his prison sentence, Dawson is required to forfeit $3.3
million. He will begin serving his sentence on June 15, 2011.