Two Charged In $650 Million Scheme

( Ponzi schemes may seem kind of old fashioned, but they’re well and truly still around, and two people have been reportedly charged for allegedly developing one that brought in some $650 million in investments from victims.

A federal grand jury in Colorado, according to an indictment unsealed on Tuesday. charged 69-year-old Reva Joyce Sachniq and 57-year-old Ron Throgmartin on counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to engage in unlawful money transactions. The two men, from Illinois and Georgia respectively, allegedly had three different variations of the same investment scheme whereby they solicited money from unsuspecting victims between 2018 and 2019.

The court documents revealed how the men would “fraudulently represent to victim-investors that their investments were backed by short-term investments in cattle.”

“They also used false and fraudulent pretenses to solicit money from victim-investors for the co-conspirators’ marijuana business, Universal Herbs LLC, which was based in the District of Colorado,” the indictment continued.

The indictment also added that other victims have given the two co-conspirators money based on promises that their money would be used for legitimate business purposes relating to marijuana and cattle. Both men reportedly told victims that the investments made would bring returns of between 10% and 20%.

Another co-conspirator, Mark Ray, was also charged back in February last year for also taking part in the scheme.

At no point, the indictment said, did Throgmartin, Stachniw, or Ray tell their victim-investors that the money would be used to repay other investors or “to enrich themselves.”

Thankfully, Ponzi schemes are very much illegal and both Throgmartin and Stachniw now face maximum prison sentences of 30 years and a fine of up to $1 million for one charge, and further fines of $250,000 for wire fraud charges and another 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the conspiracy to engage in money transactions charges.

Which means they may well spend the rest of their lives in prison.