Recently, Robert Stinson Jr. entered a guilty plea to fraud and money laundering, with no plea agreement in place. With a number of charges filed against him in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, he faces sentences totaling up to 329 years. Authorities claim his confession acknowledges using an investment firm as a front for a Ponzi scheme. They claim he admits to simply spending investor funds without attempting to reinvest them. They accuse him of just spending it all on a lavish lifestyle.
Though allegedly lacking the educational background he affirmed, he apparently was capable of investing. The funds from the alleged front company he began in 2006 were supposed to support mortgages. Instead, he reportedly put funds into a long-range plan for a web-based video service. Started in 2008, it had a scheduled launch in March 2011. However, the countdown never finished. While facing fraud and money laundering charges, he operated that website even as authorities attempted to secure all assets of the parent organization.
In the absence of the defense attorney for the accused, a judge ordered the site shut down. It appears to have already started collecting income. The same action ordered all computers in the defendant’s home confiscated, and placed him under house arrest. Shortly thereafter, goods confiscated in the investigation were auctioned off.
Specific federal charges in this enigmatic case include five counts of wire fraud, four of mail fraud, nine of money laundering, one of bank fraud, three of filing false tax returns, and two counts each of obstruction of justice and making false statements. The alleged scheme involved a reported $17 million from 260 investors. Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 13.
Sources: Investment News, “Pa. man admits to orchestrating $17.6M Ponzi,” Aug. 21, 2011
Philadelphia Inquirer, “Judge orders house arrest for Robert Stinson Jr.,” Harold Brubaker, April 19, 2011