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Saturday, June 22, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Nevada Ponzi Man|Gets 12 Years

LOS ANGELES (CN) - A Nevada man was sentenced to 12½ years in federal prison and ordered to pay $9.7 million in restitution for running a commodity futures Ponzi scheme and lying to investigators.

Gordon Driver, 58, of Henderson, pleaded guilty in April to two felony counts of wire fraud and making a false statement to SEC investigators.

Driver admitted in his plea agreement that he lied to investors, telling them he reaped 1 percent to 5 percent in monthly profits through a trading program in E-mini S&P 500 futures contracts, and claiming he never suffered a monthly net loss.

Actually, during the three years Driver ran his scam, it was "overwhelmingly unprofitable," and he lost almost all the money he traded, U.S. Attorney Eileen Decker said in a statement.

Driver Hoovered up $17.4 million from about 150 investors, 88 of whom suffered a combined $10 million in losses. From June 2008 until March 2009 he kept the scam going by taking $4.5 million from investors and paying $4.4 million in fake profits, Decker said.

Driver skimmed $2.1 million off the top, which he spent on himself and his family, buying three new cars and taking $471,000 in cash.

He lied to SEC investigators in 2009, repeating the fiction that he never suffered a monthly loss during the second half of 2007.

To top it off, Decker says, Driver is still pushing a $25,000 commodities trading software package via an online company called Avenge Software, but the company website does not indicate his affiliation with it, the prison term he faces, or his admissions of wrongdoing in the Ponzi scheme.

U.S. District Judge John A. Kronstadt sentenced Driver on Thursday to 151 months in prison.

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