Authorities arrested Matthew Percy, the accused operator of two counterfeit companies that allegedly demanded tens of millions in investments in cryptocurrency mining, life insurance and other assets after a failed attempt to escape FBI agents using a scooter.
According to California media The Sacramento Bee, a 44-year-old man from Shasta County escaped agents who tried to arrest him for an hour. He first escaped in his truck from his home in Reading, California.
After driving through residential areas of the city, the suspect turned off the road twice on Highway 5 before leaving his car on the shores of Lake Shasta.
Percy then spent about 25 minutes in the sea and towed an underwater scooter, a water-powered device that helps divers move underwater at speeds of up to 4 miles per hour. Unfortunately for him, he was caught when he went out of the lake.
Percy is currently facing several allegations of fraud, mail fraud, money laundering and witness fraud in connection with the activities of the investment company Family Wealth Legacy LLC and Zolla Financial LLC.
Since 2015, both companies are believed to have received $ 35 million from investors in exchange for “investment products” including cryptocurrency mining, healthcare investments and securities. The companies targeted high net worth investors with a minimum investment of $ 50,000.
However, Percy admitted to a colleague that the company’s “investment fund” does not exist. Furthermore, the accused Ponzi operator is believed to be poorly versed in cryptocurrencies, other than using the term as a buzzword. Joshua Koons, an attorney representing Family Wealth Legacy clients, stated:
“I do not know what they know what they did with cryptocurrency.”
It is estimated that Percy spent $ 2.5 million renovating two houses and paying off credit card bills. His accused partner Kenneth Winton is also believed to have spent $ 1 million of the money on the boat.
Prosecutors claim that $ 8.8 million of the money raised was donated to former investors to create the illusion that the money is profitable, adding:
“Of the remaining net investment of around $ 26 million, there are few liquid funds left to pay investors.”
Prosecutors also suggested that Percy could face life in prison if convicted. This event highlights how easy it is for wealthy investors to lose their money to “investment opportunities” in non-existent cryptocurrencies.