Federal Judge Dispatches U.S. Marshals To Arrest Convicted Ponzi Schemer; Michael Derrick Peninger Did Not Show Up At Sentencing Court In South Carolina

UPDATED 5:45 P.M. EDT (U.S.A.) A federal judge has issued a bench warrant for Michael Derrick Peninger after Peninger did not show up for sentencing yesterday in a $7 million, Ponzi-scheme case in South Carolina.

Peninger, 50, of Charleston, was convicted in October of eight counts of mail fraud and one count of making a false statement to an FBI agent, the CFTC said.

The Post and Courier newspaper of Charleston is reporting that prosecutors argued last fall that Peninger should have been kept in jail upon conviction because he posed a flight risk.

Peninger was released until his sentencing date after his 72-year-old mother appealed to U.S. District Judge P. Michael Duffy to permit her son to leave jail to assist with the care of her husband, who has Alzheimer’s disease.

Duffy permitted Peninger to assist his mother and stepfather, ordering him to wear an ankle monitor. The judge now has dispatched the U.S. Marshals Service to locate and arrest Peninger, the Post and Courier is reporting.

Just days ago a judgment of more than $3.9 million was placed against Peninger in a fraud case brought by the CFTC in 2008. The judgment was ordered by U.S. District Judge C. Weston Houck.

Peninger was charged criminally in January 2009. Prosecutors said he operated three companies: Cooper River Group Inc., CSA Trading Group Inc., and Daniel Island Builders LLC.

“[A]t least 20 investors provided Peninger and others with funds to invest on their behalf, but . . . Peninger and others misappropriated the money to pay personal expenses, to pay employees, to fund unauthorized business ventures, and to pay previous investors in a manner akin to a Ponzi scheme,” prosecutors said.

Peninger faced a maximum penalty of nearly two decades in prison.

South Carolina has had some unusual Ponzi cases, including the curious case of the “3 Hebrew Boys.”

In that case, convicted Ponzi schemer Joseph B. Brunson of Hopkins declared himself “sovereign” and therefore immune from U.S. law. The claim was reminiscent of claims made by Curtis Richmond, a mainstay, pro se litigant in the AdSurfDaily Ponzi scheme case.

In the 3 Hebrew Boys case, Brunson declared that former U.S. Attorney Walt Wilkens was guilty of treason, insurrection and conspiracy to overthrow the U.S. government in his successful efforts to prosecute Brunson.

Richmond argued in the ASD case that U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer was guilty of treason.

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