Former Attorney Sentenced To 99 Years In Prison For Ponzi Scheme; Edward S. Digges Jr. Was Recidivist Offender
A Texas jury has thrown the book at Edward S. Digges Jr., sentencing the Collin County man to 99 years in prison for fleecing 130 investors in a securities-fraud and Ponzi scheme.
Digges, 63, formerly was an attorney in Annapolis, Md. He was disbarred in an overbilling scheme, convicted of mail fraud in 1990 and spent two years in federal prison. After his release from prison, he continued to clash with law-enforcement agencies, including the SEC, regulators in Maryland, Ohio and Pennsylvania, and the Texas State Securities Board (TSSB).
Most of Digges’ victims were “elderly,” prosecutors said.
The 99-year sentenced imposed in Texas evolved from Digges’ operation of an entity known as the Millennium Terminal Investment Program, which sold securities that purportedly generated profits from point-of-sale terminals used by merchants to process credit and debit transactions.
In truth, investigators said, Millennium operated in the red out of the gate, was in deep “financial turmoil” not disclosed to investors, was making payments to old investors with money from new investors and lied about having a “reserve fund” to shore up the program.
Digges collected at least $10 million in the scheme by promising investors annual returns of 12 percent, prosecutors said.
â€œEdward Digges has a long history of defrauding some of our most vulnerable citizens, and this sentence ensures he will never again do so,â€ said Texas Securities Commissioner Denise Voigt Crawford.
She noted that victims will not be made whole.
â€œThe conviction will not return money to investors,”Â she said. “This case highlights the importance of checking the background of any financial professional you choose to do business with, and the importance of obtaining full disclosure before investing.â€
Digges deliberately targeted senior citizens in newspaper ads, prosecutors said. At the same time, he did not disclose his criminal conviction and did not tell clients about a $3.6 million civil judgment against him in the overbilling case.
TSSB and the district attorney’s office of Collin County prosecuted Digges on the criminal charges. Collin County is a suburban county in the Dallas/Fort Worth metropolitan area.
SEC civil charges against Digges were brought in Florida.