Vegas Ponzi Schemer Indicted for Bilking Victims of $8.5m

Authorities have indicted a Vegas-based man for ripping off 72 betting investors to the tune of over $8.5m. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Defrauded 72 investors

Despite his homemade apple-pie-sounding name, Matthew J. Turnipseede of Las Vegas has just been indicted for defrauding 72 investors out of over $8.5m in a sports betting Ponzi scheme.

promised investors double-digit profits

Authorities indicted Turnipseede, 49, Thursday for the scheme he ran in the Northern District of Ohio. He falsely promised investors double-digit profits achieved through “sophisticated” sports betting. The US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ohio (USAO-NDO) shared the charge via Twitter:

In total, officials indicted Turnipseede on 12 counts of wire fraud and one count of mail fraud. Over a six-year period from 2015 to 2021, he sweet-talked victims into investing in businesses he owned, including Edgewize LLC, Moneyline Analytics, and Moneyline Analytics Dublin Branch.

The defendant then deceitfully claimed that his businesses would use investors’ money to make sophisticated sports wagers via “an algorithm that generated double-digit returns.” 

Turnipseede makes hay

Despite his promises, none of Turnipseede’s sports betting firms ever generated any profits in the double-digit region. The defendant allegedly claimed that all money invested would go exclusively towards wagers. Instead of receiving compensation for placing the wagers, he said he would keep a percentage of the winning profits.

a classic Ponzi scheme

In reality, the defendant was using those funds to pay off prior investors and fund personal expenses – a classic Ponzi scheme. According to the DOJ’s indictment, expenses included Turnipseede family vacations to Disneyland and Hawaii, country club membership fees, spa treatments, and lease payments on multiple vehicles.

Elaborate cover-up

To keep his ruse going, Turnipseede supposedly emailed fictitious financial statements to victims. These slips falsely detailed substantial increases on the victims’ investments. The indictment adds that Turnipseede even appointed an accounting firm “to generate IRS forms based on fraudulent figures provided to the firm by the defendant.” 

Furthermore, if victims wanted to partially or fully withdraw their investments, Turnipseede used money from other victims’ payments to cover the withdrawal.

According to the USAO NDO, Assistant US Attorneys Erica D. Barnhill and Brian McDonough are the prosecutors in the case.

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