Jury finds man guilty of $46M Ponzi scheme
An insurance salesman from the area has been convicted of a $46-million Ponzi scheme, federal authorities said.
David McQueen, of Byron Center, was convicted Friday by a federal court jury in Grand Rapids of six counts of mail fraud, six counts of money laundering and three tax counts stemming from a Ponzi scheme that spanned three years.
The scheme involved more than 800 families and unsophisticated elderly investors.
He faces up to 20 years in prison on each fraud and money laundering count.
"To perpetuate his fraud, McQueen sent out monthly or quarterly account statements communicating to investors that their investments were safe and growing," the U.S. Attorney's office in Western Michigan said. "Investors relied on those account statements and believed they accurately depicted the balance in their accounts."
Authorities said McQueen was making "an adequate living in sales" when in 2006 he used borrowed funds to invest in Multiple Return Transactions. McQueen received returns of at least 10 percent for a few months and then created his own company, Accelerated Income Group. Investors in his company were promised returns of 5 percent.
McQueen used the promised 10-percent returns from Multiple Return Transactions to make the 5-percent returns his company promised. He then could keep 5 percent for himself, according to the feds.
Multiple Return Transactions stopped making payments to McQueen in 2007. But investors in his Accelerated Income Group still were told "their money was safe and growing," authorities said.
Funds from new investors were then used to make the promised 5-percent interest payments.
"Despite knowing that he had absolutely no revenue coming in, McQueen took $100,000 of investor money per month tax free for his own personal use and enjoyment," according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.
"In July and August 2009, McQueen sent out his final account statements showing that investors had tens of millions of dollars safe and growing in their separate accounts. Those statements concealed the truth — that McQueen had nearly run out of money."