November 4, 2010
Gainesville, Florida, Man Arrested for His Role in a $30 Million Ponzi Scheme
WASHINGTON – David R. Lewalski, formerly of Gainesville, Fla., was arrested today in Manhattan on a wire fraud charge related to his alleged participation in a $30 million investment fraud scheme, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Robert E. O’Neill of the Middle District of Florida.
According to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in the Middle District of Florida, Lewalski, 47, and his co-conspirators allegedly solicited money from investors based on false statements that Lewalski could earn the investors up to 10 percent interest per month by trading on the foreign currency (FOREX) market. The complaint alleges that, based on these and other fraudulent representations, Lewalski and his co-conspirators received approximately $30 million from hundreds of investors in Florida and across the country. According to the complaint, Lewalski allegedly invested only a small portion of these investor funds in trading activities and generated little if any profits trading foreign currency. Lewalski allegedly paid “interest payments” totaling approximately $15 million to investors using other investors’ money. Lewalski also spent lavishly on himself, his friends and his family, spending millions of dollars leasing real estate and private jets, and purchasing luxury automobiles, clothing and jewelry.
If convicted, Lewalski faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. A complaint is merely a formal charge and a defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
This case is being investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mandy Riedel and Trial Attorney Glenn Chernigoff with the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, on detail from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
Today’s charge is part of efforts being undertaken 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 on the task force, visit StopFraud.gov.