Algrid M. Norkus, of Aurora, Illinois, has been sentenced to 63 months in prison and ordered to pay $4.5 million in restitution for mail fraud charges related to the operation of a $9 million Ponzi scheme, according to a Jan. 23 Daily Herald article. Norkus pled guilty to the scheme on March 10, 2011.
According to a U.S. Department of Justice press release, Norkus admitted that he fraudulently offered and sold approximately $9 million of investments in his company, Financial Update, Inc., to a number of investors. He also admitted to misrepresenting the investment’s expected rate of return, risks, and status.
Norkus further admitted that he lied to investors and potential investors when he said their funds would be used to purchase lists of prospective customers for Financial Update. Despite his claims, Norkus said he had no intentions of purchasing any such lists after the beginning of 1998. Instead, he admitted, he planned to misappropriate the money, commingle it with his accounts, and use it for his personal purposes and to make Ponzi payments to earlier investors.
As part of the plea agreement, Norkus also admitted that he provided investors with falsified annual IRS Forms 1099-INT and bad checks to inspire trust and keep them unaware of the Ponzi scheme.
“He [Norkus] provided checks to certain investors drawn on bank accounts that contained insufficient funds to lull them into the belief that their investments had been used as represented, were causing Financial Update to earn money, and that the money earned on the investments was used to pay interest on the investments,” the Assistant U.S. Attorney’s office wrote in the DOJ release.
Norkus, who could have been sentenced to 20 years in prison for the investment scheme, will be required to serve three years of supervised release after his term in prison.