Ohio Couple Charged in $70 Million Ponzi Scheme

A married couple in Ohio is facing civil and criminal charges for what prosecutors say was a massive Ponzi scheme that took at least $70 million from almost 500 victims. William M. and Connie M. Apostelos have each been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, eight counts of mail fraud, 13 counts of wire fraud, two counts of money laundering, and one count of theft or embezzlement from an employee benefit plan.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has also charged William Apostelos with multiple violations of federal securities laws and named his wife as a relief defendant, alleging that she received more than $7 million in ill-gotten gains from the pyramid scheme.

According to the compliant, the Apostelos’ operated at least six companies that offered investors lucrative returns with rates as high as 50% on short-term loans, daytrading stock returns and real estate investments.

The allegations came to light after three physicians submitted an involuntary bankruptcy petition against Apostelos. According to their declarations, the doctors said that Apostelos provided them with promissory notes totaling $1.5 million with annual rates of return from 7% to 50%.

A few weeks after the involuntary bankruptcy petition was filed, the U.S. filed a civil action seeking forfeiture of two properties in Ohio owned by Apostelos that the government alleged were traceable to money laundering and wire fraud.

The government complaint alleges that the Apostelos’ have no legitimate income source except the funds allegedly diverted from investors to pay for luxury cars and support a racehorse operation. The complaint says that approximately $32 million was deposited into accounts owed by the Apostelos’ between November 2012 and May 2014, while an estimated $28 million was paid as returns to earlier investors.

The Cogdell Law Firm is a boutique law firm focusing on large, complex business and criminal financial-related litigation, including white collar criminal defense, securities fraud, health care fraud investigation, criminal appeals and state criminal defense. When results matter most, contact Dan Cogdell at (713) 426-2244or dan@cogdell-law.com.