Nevada Man Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud Charge for Operating a Ponzi Scheme Involving E-Mini S&P Futures and Lying to the SEC
LOS ANGELES—The architect of a fraudulent investment scheme pleaded guilty today to federal wire fraud and false statement charges related to a Ponzi scheme that bilked victims out of millions of dollars.
Gordon Driver, 58, of Henderson, Nevada, pleaded guilty to the two felony counts before United States District Judge John A. Kronstadt.
In a plea agreement filed in United States District Court, Driver falsely told victims that he was producing profits of 1 percent to 5 percent a week through a commodity futures trading program involving E-mini S&P 500 futures contracts. Driver also told victims that he had never sustained a monthly net loss as a result of his trading.
In reality, his trading activity was overwhelmingly unprofitable, causing him to lose nearly almost all the money that he used to trade commodities.
Investigators believe that Driver took in at least $15 million and that investors—including several Southland residents and people in Canada—collectively lost at least $9 million as a result of the scheme.
Driver solicited investments through Nevada-based companies with names like Axcess Automation LLC, which was under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2009 when Driver testified under oath. During this testimony, which was given under penalty of perjury, Driver said that he did not have a monthly negative return during the second half of 2007—a statement that was false and which forms the basis of the second charge to which he pleaded guilty.
As a result of today’s guilty pleas, Driver faces a statutory maximum sentence of 25 years in federal prison when he is sentenced by Judge Kronstadt.
The criminal case against Driver is the result of a joint investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Postal Inspection Service, both of which received assistance from the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, the SEC, the Attorney General of Ontario (Canada), and the Ontario Securities Commission.