Beckman Gets 30 Years for Role in $195M Ponzi Scheme
Jason “Bo” Beckman has been sentenced to serve 30 years in
prison for his role inMinnesota’s second-largest Ponzi scheme to date. Around 724 people, most of who were elderly investors in their
60s, 70s, and 80s, lost their life savings in the scheme.
Though Beckman claimed he didn’t know the currency investment program
orchestrated by Trevor Cook was a
Ponzi scheme, prosecutors said his statements were overwrought and the words of a “dishonest,
venal, manipulative, … and maybe borderline delusional” man.
"I would submit that Mr. Beckman is the worst white-collar defendant
in the history of the District of Minnesota," said Assistant U.S.
Attorney David MacLaughlin (as quoted by Star Tribune). "I've
never seen a more pro-active liar."
Gerald Durand, Beckman’s co-conspirator, has been sentenced to serve
20 years for his role in the scheme. Christopher Pettengill, another defendant,
has been sentenced to serve 7.5 years. Pettengill’s sentence was
significantly lighter than the others, because he served as a cooperating
witness for the prosecution. Sentencing for the fourth defendant,
Patrick Kiley, has been postponed. The men also were ordered to pay $155 million in
Victims of the massive Cook Ponzi scheme suffered losses of more than $150 million.
Prosecutors called the Cook Ponzi scam the worst in Minnesota history,
not because of the amount swindled, but because the schemers specifically
investment fraud at retirees and the elderly.
Though Beckman, Durand, and Pettengill were ordered to pay restitution
to their victims, many of the defrauded investors are worried they won’t
recover their initial investments. Some investors have filed lawsuits
against the broker-dealers (such as
Ohio-based NRP Financialand
Chicago-based Peregrine Financial Group) responsible for supervising the scheme’s perpetrators. To learn
more about the
futures broker and curency dealer sued for facilitating the Cook Ponzi
Scheme click here.