Philadelphia-Area Business Owner Pleads Guilty to $17M Ponzi Scheme
Robert Stinson, Jr., of Berwyn, Pennsylvania, pled guilty to 26 federal charges on Monday in relation to an investment scheme that defrauded at least 260 investors out of more than $17 million.
According to the FBI, Stinson's Ponzi scheme started in 2006, when he began soliciting investments through his company, Life's Good Inc. Stinson told investors their funds would be invested in one of four different real estate hedge funds, which would render fixed returns of between 10 and 16 percent. In reality, Stinson often used the funds to pay business expenses and to fund his personal lifestyle, which included the rental of a lavish mansion, and the purchase of two Mercedes Benz sedans.
A convicted criminal, Stinson's record shows multiple convictions for fraud, a fact he withheld from investors. He also neglected to mention his two bankruptcies and that the SEC had previously enjoined him from committing securities fraud. Further lies included that he was a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and that he possessed a "wealth of business experience."
"What makes this particularly harmful is he went after people who were investing their retirement. A number of people lost their entire retirement funds," said Assistant U.S. Attorney David Axelrod.
Stinson pled guilty to five counts of wire fraud, four counts of mail fraud, nine counts of money laundering, one count of bank fraud, three counts of filing false tax returns, two counts of obstruction of justice, and two counts of making false statements to federal agents. His sentencing is scheduled for December 13.
He faces up to 34 years in prison.