FEDS: Former California National Guard Base Commander Timothy Melvin Murphy Pleads Guilty To Bilking $2.7 Million In Ponzi And Fraud Caper

The onetime commander of the California National Guard base in Los Alamitos has pleaded guilty to mail fraud in a Ponzi scheme that defrauded 28 investors of $2.7 million, federal prosecutors said.

Ret. Col. Timothy Melvin Murphy, 70, of Orange, ran his investment scam through an entity known as Capital Investors Inc., also of Orange, the office of U.S. Attorney André Birotte Jr. of the Central District of California said.

In pleading guilty yesterday, Murphy admitted that he made materially false promises to clients, offered fraudulent investment opportunities to certain of his clients, and that he created and used a variety of false documents to execute the scheme,” prosecutors said.

The FBI investigated the case.

As the probe unfolded, investigators discovered that Murphy sometimes offered “guaranteed” returns, misdirected investors’ money and “created false account statements to mislead his clients into thinking that their money was properly invested and generating the promised income.”

But the former officer “did not use the clients’ investment funds as he promised he would — an investors got plucked for $2.7 million, prosecutors said.

Sentencing before U.S. District Judge David O. Carter is preliminarily set for June 25. Murphy faces up to 20 years in federal prison, a substantial fine, a restitution order and supervised probation after getting out of jail, prosecutors said.

Murphy now joins a growing list of convicted or accused Ponzi schemers in their senior years.

In Rhode Island yesterday, Martin B. Feibish, 81, of Providence, pleaded guilty to mail fraud in an alleged Ponzi swindle that lasted 10 years and plucked $5 million from a single victim.

The Orange County Register is reporting that prosecutors believe Murphy’s scam in California began as early as 2001.

Federal prosecutors in Rhode Island said the Feibish scheme also dated back to 2001.

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