Omaha Woman Pleads Guilty to Securities Fraud
|U.S. Attorney’s Office September 28, 2010|
United States Attorney Deborah R. Gilg and Weysan Dun, Special Agent in Charge of Omaha division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, announce the following information for the attention of the media:
Event Triggering this Release:
On September 27, 2010, Mary R. Wong entered a guilty plea to Securities Fraud in front of United States Magistrate Judge Thomas D. Thalken. Ms. Wong faces a term of imprisonment of up to 20 years, a fine of up to $1,000,000, both such fine and imprisonment, a term of supervised release of not more than five years, and a $100 special assessment. Her sentencing is scheduled for December 20, 2010, in front of the Honorable Laurie Smith Camp, United States District Court Judge.
Wong pled guilty to involvement in a scheme to defraud investors out of more than three million dollars during the period from April 2005, through August 2009. Wong, acting as a financial/investor advisor, devised a Ponzi-like scheme and artifice to defraud various investors and clients by soliciting millions of dollars of funds under false pretenses, failing to invest the investors’ funds as promised, and misappropriating and converting investors’ funds to herself and other business entities under her control without the knowledge or authorization of the victim investors. A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment arrangement under which an entity makes payments to investors from monies obtained from new investors, rather than from profits from any underlying investment. The fraud consists of funneling proceeds received from new investors to previous investors in the guise of profits and/or returns from investments, thereby cultivating an illusion that a legitimate profit making business or investment opportunity exists, which, in some cases, induces further investment.
Ms. Wong offered various investment vehicles to her victims which included Gallup bonds, real estate, including condominiums and a shopping mall in Arizona, as well as various individual retirement accounts. In reality, most of these investment vehicles did not exist. The monies were used, among other things, to pay off earlier investors’ interest on their bonds, to support other business interests of Wong’s and to support a lavish lifestyle enjoyed by the Wong and her other business clients.
The investigation determined that investors’ monies were used by Wong to charter private aircraft, purchase expensive homes, and pay off expensive personal and business related credit card debt. The amount of loss to the victims was approximately $3,035,000.00. “Investment advisors hold a position of trust for their clients and their clients rely on their guidance to make important financial decisions” said Weysan Dun, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI. “Investment advisors who defraud clients and misappropriate client funds not only abuse that trust but also undermine the confidence of the investing public. The FBI remains diligent in investigating these type of crimes.”
Name of Defendant: Mary R. Wong
City of Residence: Omaha, Nebraska
Crime(s) Charged and Potential Penalty (A CHARGE is merely an accusation and every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty): Securities Fraud (Title 15, United States Code, Sections 78j(b) and 78ff, and Title 17, Code of Federal Regulations, Section 240.10(b)-5). Imprisonment of up to 20 years, a fine of up to $1,000,000, both such fine and imprisonment, a term of supervised release of not more than five years, and a $100 special assessment.
Specific Location of Alleged Crime: Omaha, Nebraska
Location of Arrest:
Alleged Dollar Loss/Type and Quantity of Drug: Approximately $3,035,000
Others Charged in Same Scheme: N/A
Date of Alleged Crime: Beginning on or about April 1, 2005, and continuing until on or about August 15, 2009.
Federal Arrest Date:
Date Complaint Issued: N/A
Indictment Returned Date: August 19, 2009
Initial Appearance Date: August 25, 2009
Plea or Trial and Date(s): Plea, September 27, 2010
Sentencing Date: December 20, 2010
Next Court Hearing Type and Date: Sentencing, December 20, 2010
Assigned Magistrate Judge: Thomas D. Thalken
Held without Bond, or Released from Custody:
Assigned District Court Judge: Laurie Smith Camp
Initials of Assigned AUSA/Preparer of THIS Release: RXM