Monday, December 7, 2009

Colorado Man Pleads Guilty In $21 Million Ponzi Scheme Case

Shawn R. Merriman, 46, of Aurora, Colorado, pleaded guilty last week to charges he defrauded investors out of some $21 million over a 15 year period in a Ponzi-type investment fraud scheme. Commencing in 1994, Merriman promised returns of 7 to 25 percent to investors, but instead spend much of the investment funds to pay dividends to earlier investors and to purchase artwork, sports memorabilia and antique cars, among other personal luxury items. Merriman's scheme involved his investment firm, Market Street Advisors and he reportedly targeted local members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints where he is a bishop. Merriman was arrested last April and authorities have seized 193 paintings and works of art; 27 vehicles, including a 1937 Cord and a 1930 Lincoln; 34 rifles, shotguns and handguns; and baseball memorabilia, including a glove autographed by Lou Gehrig (see link below for a full list of items seized). He is scheduled to be sentenced next May.

Read the story here, here and here.

Read the SEC complaint here.

See the list of items seized from Merriman here.

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