$140 Million Ponzi Scheme
March 1, 2012
The subject of an investigation by the FBI and its law enforcement partners is sentenced to 18 years in prison for the largest fraud scheme in Washington state.
Mollie Halpern: The subject of an investigation by the FBI and its law enforcement partners is sentenced to 18 years in prison for the largest fraud scheme in Washington state. Darren Berg swindled more than 500 victims out of $140 million.
Ryan Austin: Berg was a real con man; he even managed to lure sophisticated investors.
Halpern: I’m Mollie Halpern of the FBI, and this is Gotcha. For 10 years, Berg claimed his business, Meridian Group, was investing in private mortgages—but it was actually an elaborate Ponzi scheme. Case Agent Ryan Austin says Berg used much of the investor money to finance his other business ventures and to support his lavish lifestyle…
Austin: …which included luxury condos, mansions, and airplanes.
Halpern: Search warrants turned up 700 boxes of evidence against Berg. Forensic accountants diligently followed the money in his accounts to unravel the scheme.
Austin: All the different pieces of the puzzles were assembled and the story that it told was just pretty compelling.
Halpern: This is FBI’s closed case of the week.
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