A Florida Ponzi scheme involving a prominent attorney allegedly bilked investors out of at least
$800 million. Michael J. McNerney, a Fort Lauderdale lawyer and legal
counsel for Mutual Benefits Corporation, pleaded guilty on Wednesday May 18thto a charge of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. U.S. Attorney
Wifredo Ferrer stated that McNerney allegedly "defrauded investors
by providing 'legal cover' to what was essentially nothing more than a
Ponzi scheme. McNerney abused his position of trust and used his law license to help
commit this massive fraud."
The scheme revolved around the alleged sale of viatical settlements to
investors by Mutual Benefits Corp. These were based on life insurance
policies on the elderly or terminally ill. The investors were told they
would collect when the person died within a set amount of time. However,
Mutual Benefits Corp. has been accused of providing inaccurate estimates
of how long the insured would live, and ultimately running a Ponzi scheme.
In reality, most of the life insurance policies did not mature and most
of the investors were never paid.
McNerney is only one of ten individuals who have pleaded guilty in the
scheme. The case dates back to 2008, involves millions of documents, and
is growing ever more complex. It could be another two years before the
alleged leaders of the scheme go to trial.
If you have been the victim of a Fort Lauderdale Ponzi scheme, contact
the investment fraud lawyers with David P. Meyer & Associates. We
victims of Florida securities fraud in
stockbroker mediation, arbitration, and litigation.