Frankly I’d say John Anthony Miller was lucky. Based on the sentences being handed down for Bernie Madoff like Ponzi schemes, to get 13 years was probably light considering…
According the the news release from the US Attorney’s office, from 2000 through November 2008, Miller operated a Ponzi scheme through his Newport Beach-based investment companies, JAM Jr. Enterprises and Forte Financial Partners. Miller made promises of “guaranteed” annual returns of as much as 18 percent per year, telling investors that their money would be invested in foreign currency trading, oil wells, real estate and other vehicles. During the course of the scheme, Miller provided investors with monthly account statements that falsely represented they were earning the promised returns. In fact, Miller had never earned any real profits from his investment activity and, in the pattern of a typical Ponzi scheme, used money from some investors to make Ponzi payments to other investors.
Now it seems that Miller was, knowing his fate was sealed, trying to escape the clutches of the federal prison system. Guess Miller didn’t think that prison suited his style.
The FBI and the State Department already were aware that John Anthony Miller’s scheme was falling apart when they targeted him in a sting in November 2008. Working with an informant, an FBI agent who also was an attorney and a former clerk for a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, set up a sting operation. Miller’s telephone calls with the informant were recorded as the scheme was collapsing.
Miller sought the informant’s help in obtaining a passport to a country that did not have an extradition treaty with the United States, according to the complaint. Using a story that a family friend knew a corrupt passport official, the informant set up a meeting between Miller and the purportedly corrupt official, who was actually an undercover officer from the U.S. Department of State.
Miller agreed to pay $20,000 for the passport, with $5,000 paid up front and the balance of $15,000 upon delivery of the passport. Miller paid the undercover officer $5,000 in cash that had been stuffed in an envelope. He then filled out a passport application that used the identity of his deceased classmate, according to the complaint. Miller ultimately concluded it was best to flee the country. After using Ponzi proceeds to pay the undercover agent the $5,000 deposit required for the bogus passport in November 2008, Miller was told it would take seven to 10 days for the documents to be prepared. He provided two photographs of himself, and used the name, Social Security number and date of birth of his deceased Catholic school classmate in the application.
Looks like that scheme, like his ponzi schemes just didn’t work. 2010 brought a different outcome than the one Miller was planning – PRISON.
- Over the course of his scheme, Miller defrauded more than 130 people out of more than $21 million, taking millions of dollars that some victims withdrew from IRA retirement savings accounts and others borrowed against their homes.
- Prosecutors read Snyder portions of letters from victims. A husband and wife, one of whom was suffering from colon cancer, lost more than $800,000. Now in bankruptcy and suffering from regular nightmares, they wrote: “They say time heals all wounds, but not in this case. The impact on our lives has been like a cancer growing and festering and has caused irreparable and unrecoverable damage to our lives, not just financially but emotionally and physically.” They added: “Miller raped us of our money, our dignity, and any hope of a decent future.”
- In sentencing papers, the feds labeled Miller “amongst the most egregious of any investment fraudster or Ponzi schemer this Court will ever see. He didn’t just solicit fraudulent investments through mailings or mass marketing, like many fraudsters do. He didn’t just interact with victims over the telephone or at investment seminars, like many others. [Miller] lied to people in person, up close, sitting in their living rooms or at their kitchen tables, knowing full well the vulnerability of his victims and the inevitable devastation his deceit would cause them.”
DO YOU FEEL THAT MILLER’S SENTENCE WAS JUST?
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