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Edward May Pleads Guilty to $35 Million Ponzi Scheme

David P. Meyer, Esq.

Edward May, founder of E-M Management Co. LLC (E-M), pled guilty last week to a ten-year, $35 million Ponzi scheme ("Edward May pleads guilty to operating Ponzi scheme that bilked investors out of $35 million," Crain's Detroit Business, April 29, 2011). Investors defrauded in the investment scheme resided in states throughout the country, including: Michigan, California, Florida, Illinois, New York, Ohio and New Jersey.

According to the article, May - through E-M - solicited investments in his LLCs by claiming that the companies held telecommunications contracts with several major hotel chains. The contracts supposedly guaranteed income of $30,000 - $100,000 per month to each company. Unfortunately for investors, the contracts never existed, and investments in the company were used to make Ponzi-style payments to previous investors.

May was indicted in October of 2009 on 59 felony counts of mail fraud. Two years before the indictment, in 2007, the SEC filed a complaint against May. In the complaint, the SEC alleged that May, through E-M, solicited as much as $250 million in a fraudulent investment scheme. May was also accused of making false promises to investors, which included a "guarantee" that they would receive, at a minimum, returns paid in monthly payments for the first 20 to 24 months after the initial investment was made. On January 7, 2010, a U.S. District Court judge issued a final judgment against May, which included an order to pay $37 million in disgorgement.

May's plea confessed to all 59 counts of fraud. He is scheduled to be sentenced on August 11