United States Attorney
Eastern District of Pennsylvania
Monday, August 15, 2011
Pennsylvania Man Pleads Guilty for His Role in $17 Million Ponzi Scheme
PHILADELPHIA – Robert Stinson Jr., 56, of Berwyn, Penn., pleaded guilty today to charges contained in a 26-count indictment detailing a Ponzi scheme that defrauded more than 260 investors of more than $17 million, announced U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger. Stinson pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Michael M. Baylson 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.
The indictment alleged that since 2006, Stinson ran a company called Life’s Good Inc. that solicited investments in one of four real estate hedge funds, promising fixed returns of between 10 to 16 percent annually. However, rather than invest the money as promised, Stinson ran an elaborate Ponzi scheme that he used to steal more than $17 million from the investors. According to the indictment, Stinson falsely represented to investors that he was a graduate of Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a wealth of business experience, when, in reality, he had been convicted of fraud multiple times and had previously been enjoined from committing securities fraud by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
As part of this investigation, the FBI executed numerous search warrants on June 29, 2010, and seized two Mercedes Benz sedans that Stinson had purchased with proceeds from his fraud. At the time of the search, Stinson allegedly obstructed justice by wiring stolen funds out of Life’s Good bank accounts to other accounts.
Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 13, 2011. Stinson faces an advisory sentencing guideline range of 324 to 405 months in prison.
The case was investigated by the FBI, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigations and the SEC. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David L. Axelrod.
The case is part of efforts underway by President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. President Obama established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes. For more information about the task force visit: www.stopfraud.gov.