UPDATE: Sentencing For Legisi HYIP’s Gregory McKnight Delayed Again; Sentencing For Pitchman Matthew J. Gagnon Also Moved
Sentencing for Legisi HYIP Ponzi scheme purveyor Gregory N. McKnight has been delayed again — this time until Aug. 6 at 1:30 p.m. McKnight had been scheduled to be sentenced today in the Eastern District of Michigan. The postponement marks at least the fifth in the case.
Legisi, which had a presence on infamous Ponzi forums such as TalkGold and MoneyMakerGroup and became the subject of both civil (SEC) and criminal (U.S. Secret Service) probes prior to its 2008 collapse, was a fraud that gathered about $72 million. McKnight pleaded guilty to wire fraud in February 2012. Prosecutors have asked for a sentence of 15 years, describing McKnight’s wordplay when trying to sanitize his HYIP scheme as “semantic obfuscation.”
Meanwhile, sentencing for Legisi pitchman Matthew John Gagnon has been moved from today until May 21 at 1:30 p.m. Gagnon pleaded guilty to not disclosing he’d been paid more than $1 million by Legisi and McKnight to tout the “program” online. Gagnon pushed the “program” on Mazu.com.
The name of MoneyMakerGroup appears in an evidence exhibit in the Legisi case. Also included in the exhibit is Legisi’s bizarre Terms of Service, which required investors to avow they were not an “informant” for government agencies such as the CIA, FBI, SEC, “Her Majesty’s Police,” the Intelligence Services of Great Britain and the Serious Fraud Office, among others.
Other recent Ponzi-board “programs” that became the subjects of major investigations include Pathway To Prosperity, Imperia Invest IBC, AdSurfDaily, Zeek Rewards and Profitable Sunrise. All of the “programs” claimed absurd rates of return.
The SEC said last month that Profitable Sunrise was operating from a “mail drop” in England and that pitchmen may not even have known for whom they were working when touting the “opportunity,” which may have gathered tens of millions of dollars.
ASD was a $119 million Ponzi scheme. Zeek, according to the SEC, was a $600 million Ponzi- and pyramid fraud. Imperia targeted thousands of deaf investors and consumed more than $7 million. Pathway to Prosperity gathered about $70 million, according to court filings.
ASD’s Andy Bowdoin — now serving a prison term of 78 months — also engaged in semantic obfuscation, prosecutors said. ASD, a massive Ponzi scheme, purported to pay 1 percent a day. That’s about a third of the purported payout of the Profitable Sunrise “Long Haul” plan, which promoters said paid 2.7 percent a day.
Like Legisi, Profitable Sunrise claimed to be in the “loan” business.