NEWS/UPDATES: Feds Charge Donald Young In Massive Ponzi In Pennsylvania; Matthew Pizzolato Pleads Guilty In Louisiana; Jeffrey Mowen Loses Cars In Utah; ‘Today’ Show Interviews Daughter Who Turned In Mom For Ponzi

A grand jury has returned an indictment against a suburban Philadelphia man, accusing him of operating a Ponzi scheme that gathered at least $95 million and fleeced investors of more than $25 million.

Charged criminally with mail fraud and money-laundering was Donald Anthony Young, who also has been sued by the SEC.

Meanwhile, Matthew Pizzolato has pleaded guilty in a separate Ponzi case targeting senior citizens in Louisiana, prosecutors said.

Pizzolato, 26, of Tickfaw, pleaded guilty to 21 counts of mail fraud, three counts of money-laundering, and single counts of wire fraud, securities fraud and witness tampering. In all, Pizzolato pleaded guilty to 27 felonies. He also was sued by the CFTC.

At the same time, accused Ponzi schemer Jeffrey Lane Mowen has lost his monstrous collection of vehicles in Utah. The U.S. Marshals Service began selling the 210-vehicle collection at auction yesterday — April Fool’s Day.

Marshals were authorized to sell the cars because the bill to store them cost $21,000 a month. Mowen, 47, was arrested in Panama in 2009, extradited to the United States and jailed in Utah on Ponzi charges. He later was charged in an alleged murder-for-hire plot in which he was accused of trying to recruit a fellow prisoner to kill witnesses in the Ponzi case.

The auction had been delayed twice, but proceeded yesterday. It was billed by Erkelens & Olson Auctioneers as the “Largest collection of Muscle, Collector & Exotic vehicles ever [offered] in Utah!”

Elsewhere, NBC’s “Today” show this morning featured a daughter who turned in her mother in a Ponzi scheme. The mother ultimately was not charged because authorities came to view her as a victim who had been recruited to sell the scheme.

Authorities busted the California scheme, operated by Pastor Robert Jennings and Henry Uliomereyon Jones, a magnetic figure. The affinity-fraud scheme involved investments in coal and a bogus international gold deal.

Jones was arrested in Hong Kong and extradited to the United States. He and Jennings were convicted last year.

Kim Flanigan told Today that she reached her limit when she observed her mother, a widow, trying to recruit a widow with nine children into the Ponzi scheme. Both widows attended the same church.

“That was my breaking point,” Flanigan told Today. (See link to story below. NBC’s “Dateline” program will feature Flanigan tonight 9 EDT.)

In the Donald Anthony Young case in Pennsylvania, prosecutors said Young stole from investors so he could live in the lap of luxury.

“Ponzi schemes are usually a vehicle for an unscrupulous person to live high off of someone else’s wealth,” said U.S. Attorney Michael L. Levy. “According to the indictment, this defendant helped himself to others’ fortunes, living a life of luxury, with little or no regard for the damage to our financial markets, our economy, and the reputation of the investment advisors who follow the rules.”

A veteran FBI agent said the agency was committed to destroying Ponzi fraud.

“The FBI views these types of financial investment Ponzi fraud schemes as significant criminal problems, because of the devastating effect they have not only on the individual victims who are preyed upon but also the effect they have on financial markets and on the overall economy,” said Janice K. Fedarcyk, special agent-in-charge of the Philadelphia Division of the FBI.

Prosecutors and agents involved in the Pizzolato case, meanwhile, also said Ponzi fraud will not stand in the United States.

“[Pizzolato’s]  plea demonstrates our resolve, along with our partners in federal law enforcement, including the FBI, IRS and U.S. Postal Inspection Service, to aggressively investigate and pursue those economic predators who seek to take advantage and prey upon the most vulnerable among us, including our senior citizens who most desperately need our protection,” said U.S. Attorney Jim Letten.

Letten thanked the Office of the Louisiana Commissioner of Securities for its assistance in the Pizzolato case.

An FBI agent said the case sends a signal.

“This guilty plea represents once again, the FBI’s resolve to aggressively investigate financial crimes which victimize our most vulnerable citizens,” said David Welker, special agent in-charge. “It is reprehensible that Mr. Pizzalotto would target senior citizens and defraud them of their life’s savings. The FBI, along with our law enforcement partners, will continue to identify and investigate frauds such as this.”

An IRS investigator said authorities would leave no stone unturned to expose financial fraudsters.

“This investigation shows that the appearance of success can be a mask for a tangled financial web of lies,” said Michael J. DePalma, special agent in-charge of the IRS New Orleans’ office.

“No matter what we call this type of crime, the bottom line is that Mr. Pizzolato robbed over a hundred investors of more than $19 million and spent just about all of it,” DePalma said. “Special Agents of IRS Criminal Investigation will continue to work with our federal and state law enforcement partners and the United States Attorney’s Office to pursue evidence of criminal activity wherever it leads, leaving no financial stone unturned.”

Visit the Today show site to read about Flanigan’s experience.

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2 Responses to “NEWS/UPDATES: Feds Charge Donald Young In Massive Ponzi In Pennsylvania; Matthew Pizzolato Pleads Guilty In Louisiana; Jeffrey Mowen Loses Cars In Utah; ‘Today’ Show Interviews Daughter Who Turned In Mom For Ponzi”

  1. Just a hunch, but is this Henry Uliomereyon Jones a deposed prince or general from Nigeria?

  2. There’s a picture of him here:
    Decide for yourself.