Edward May, 74, Pleads Guilty In Michigan Ponzi Caper That Gathered $200 Million; Feds Say He Used 150 LLCs As Part Of Spectacular, Decade-Long Fraud

The senior-citizen Ponzi cavalcade and incredible paperwork maze continues: Edward May, 74, has pleaded guilty in Detroit to 59 counts of mail fraud in a case in which federal prosecutors alleged he rented office space in Lake Orion, Mich., and established 150 LLCs as part of a $200 million Ponzi scheme that operated for a decade.

The SEC, which sued May for his operation of E-M Management Co. LLC and associated busineses, said in November 2007 that May had defrauded as many as 1,200 investors by selling them “interests” in the LLCs.

Many of the investors were “elderly” persons, the SEC said, adding that May also was selling unregistered securities.

As part of the fraud, May traded on the name of Hilton Hotel Corp. and planted the seed that he was supplying telecommunications services to the famous company through a “Norwegian” company.

It was a lie, the SEC said. It also was a lie when May made similar claims and traded on the names of MGM-Mirage Resorts Inc., the MGM Grand Hotel, Motel 6, the Tropicana Resort Casino and the Sheraton Hotels chain.

The Ponzi collapsed by July 2007, and May went into excuse-making mode by claiming payments were delayed because of the company’s growing pains — specifically claiming that “mailing accuracy” had suffered because the number of LLCs had grown and created a “volume” problem, the SEC said.

By September 2007, however, he started pitching investors on an opportunity to invest in a Michigan “concrete company,” the SEC said.

What May actually was doing, investigators said, was running a Ponzi scheme and ripping off investors to pay his gambling debts and other personal expenses.

In September 2009, the SEC alleged that Frank Bluestein, who ran a company known as Fast Frank Inc., was “the single largest salesperson” for May’s fraud.

Bluestein, 59 when the SEC case against him was brought, raised $74 million, in part by targeting senior citizens and conducting “seminars” in which seniors were encouraged to “refinance their mortgages for their homes in order to fund their investments,” the SEC alleged.

 

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