Daniel Spitzer of North Barrington, Illinois, who blew almost $1 million at a casino in Las Vegas after thieving millions from investors, was sentenced to twenty-five years in prison this week. Authorities believe that Spitzer operated a Ponzi scheme for roughly six years, bilking almost 300 investors out of $34 million, including his own brother-in-law. Spitzer pleaded guilty in July to ten counts of mail fraud.
In arguing for a prolonged sentence, U.S. Attorney Madeleine Murphy stated, “It’s horrifying what happened to these people, many who are elderly people who are left with absolutely nothing.”
According to prosecutors, Spitzer acquired about $105 million in investments but used much of the money to pay off old investors to keep the scheme going. To conceal his scheme, he issued false statements to investors that inflated their profits. Spitzer promised returns of up to 184%. Yet he only invested about $30 million of the money he had raised. Simultaneously, he lived extravagantly, spending more than $900,000 in cash during fourteen trips to the Wynn Las Vegas casino from 2006 through 2009, according to the SEC.
In court, Spritzer stated, “I cannot express in words my extreme remorse for the hardships my actions have caused. I will never give up trying to make these wrongs right.”
U.S. District Judge James Zagel was not moved, stating before he imposed sentence that most Ponzi scheme defendants were “earnest” and “winning salesmen” who believed their own lies to engender trust. He added that “[p]eople who fall for something like this have to live with an emotional damage that in some respects aggravates the offense. And in this case the damage was very severe.”
If you or someone you know has lost money as a result of an investment or Ponzi scheme, please contact Richard Frankowski at 888-741-7503 to discuss your potential legal remedies or complete the contact form.