On November 3, Charles Bennett of Manhattan, New York jumped into the Hudson River in an attempt to commit suicide but was ultimately rescued by a New York Police Department SCUBA diver and taken to a hospital. Before the suicide attempt, however, Bennett had written a sixteen page suicide note, which he left in a hotel on the West Side and was recovered by the police.
The note was entitled “A Sad Ending to My Life.” In the note, Bennett stated, “I have systematically over the course of five years or so perpetrated a huge Ponzi scheme envelloping [sic] my family and closest friends. I managed to completely squander the hard earned money that my family and dear friends managed to set aside over the course of their working lives. To be clear about this: the whole . . . investment scheme that so many thought was real was in fact a complete and [sic] fiction of my crazed imagination.”
Bennett had told investors that they were getting substantial returns and paid them some of their “dividends.” However, as Bennett admits in his note, not a single trade was ever made. In his own words, “It was a Ponzi scheme pure and simple.” All of the funds Bennett received were used “to pay off other supposed ‘investors’ and [Bennett’s] absurd lifestyle.”
An investigation into Bennett’s potential scheme led to authorities charging him with bilking $5 million from thirty clients since 2008. The SEC’s complaint accuses Bennett of using the investors’ funds for himself, making large cash withdrawals in order to pay for extravagant vacations and lavish hotel rooms.
Bennett, allegedly, enticed a number of his victims by stating that former governor Eliot Spitzer was among his investors.
Bennett was arraigned on wire and securities fraud charges over the telephone in his hospital room. If convicted, Bennett faces a maximum sentence of twenty years imprisonment.
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.