LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — A Las Vegas man has been charged with stealing $8.5 million from investors in Ohio through a sports-betting Ponzi scheme.
Matthew J. Turnipseede, 49, of Las Vegas, was charged in a 13-count indictment for defrauding 72 investors in Ohio, and elsewhere, out of more than $8.5 million through a Ponzi scheme that promised double-digit profits through various sports wagering businesses.
According to the indictment, the defendant convinced victims to invest money in companies he owned by falsely claiming that investor funds would be used to make sophisticated sports wager with an algorithm that generated double-digit returns.
The indictment also indicated that none of the companies owned by the defendant ever generated the promised profits. Instead, reports say the defendant used investor money to maintain the business, seek new sources of funds, pay off earlier investors and fund personal expenses.
The defendant told investors that he would not be paid compensation but would retain a percentage of winning profits, and the money would be exclusively used to place bets on sporting events.
The defendant is also accused of periodically emailing fraudulent financial statements to victims, purporting to show substantial gains on their investments, and employing an accounting firm to generate IRS forms based on fraudulent figures.
The indictment alleged that if a victim sought to withdraw some or all of their investments, the defendant used money from other victims’ contributions to cover the withdrawal.
In addition, it is also alleged that the defendant used investor funds to finance his personal expenses, including family vacations to Disneyland and Hawaii, spa treatments, lease payments on multiple vehicles and country club membership dues.
Turnipseede was officially charged with 12 counts of wire fraud and one count of mail fraud.