April 21, 2015

Oklahoma Couple Sentenced in Ponzi Scheme Related to Fictitious Hedge Fund

LAS VEGAS, NV—An Oklahoma husband and wife received prison sentences today for stealing over $6.5 million from six victims who thought they were investing in a hedge fund, announced U.S. Attorney Daniel G. Bogden for the District of Nevada, Laura A. Bucheit, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI for Nevada, and John Collins, Special Agent in Charge of IRS Criminal Investigation for Nevada.

“The defendants used convincing tactics and tempting monetary returns to persuade their victims to part with their money,” said U.S. Attorney Bogden. “If someone offers unusually high returns on an investment, it is likely too good to be true.”

Linda Livolsi, aka Linda G. Findley, aka Linda Grogg, 46, of Cleveland, Oklahoma, was sentenced to 45 months in prison, three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay approximately $6.1 million in restitution. She pleaded guilty on Oct. 15, 2014, to one count of wire fraud and one count of making and filing a false and fraudulent tax return. Her husband, William Livolsi, Jr., 55, was sentenced to two years in prison, three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay approximately $5 million in restitution. He pleaded guilty on Oct. 15, 2014, to one count of wire fraud. Linda Livolsi was allowed to self-report to prison by July 24, 2015, and William Livolsi was permitted to report to prison 30 days after Linda is released from prison.

“These sentences are a reminder of the FBI’s dedication to identify, investigate and prosecute those who are committing financial crimes against innocent consumers,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Bucheit.

“Individuals should be careful in choosing their investment advisers as they would in choosing a doctor or a lawyer,” said IRS CI Special Agent in Charge Collins. “IRS criminal investigators will use all permissible tools to pursue these criminals and hold them accountable.”

According to the plea agreements, since about 2003, under the artifice of RGM Enterprises, LLC, Linda Livolsi had been soliciting and inducing persons to give her money for the purpose of investing it in a purported hedge fund that offered large monetary returns. In reality, the hedge fund never existed and the Livolsi’s spent most the money for their personal benefit. Linda and William Livolsi, Jr. were married in 2004, and according to the plea agreements, William Livolsi participated in the fraud scheme by vouching to victims about the scheme, by creating a trust and bank accounts into which he received and withdrew monies deposited by victims, and by using the fraud monies for his own personal benefit. The victims were fooled into thinking their investments were good because the Livolsi’s provided them with false and fraudulent financial statements and account statements. The Livolsi’s fraudulently obtained about $6.5 million in funds from six investors from 2003 to 2007, including approximately $5 million that came from one victim. Linda Livolsi also filed false federal tax returns for the years 2003 to 2006, and failed to file tax returns for 2007 and 2008. Her total tax liability for those years, not including interest and penalties, is approximately $1.1 million.

The case was investigated by the FBI and IRS Criminal Investigation and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney J. Gregory Damm.

This prosecution is part of efforts underway by President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. President Obama established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes. For more information about the task force visit: www.stopfraud.com.