Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Couple Get Prison Stays For Peddling Phony Mtg Reduction Racket Ponzi Scheme; Used Lulling Payments To Lull Investors To Sleep While Living High Life

From the Office of the U.S. Attorney (Chicago, Illinois):

  • A Will County couple has been sentenced to federal prison terms for engaging in a brazen investment fraud scheme that swindled more than $1 million from approximately 40 victims, causing some of them to lose their homes and financial security while the couple spent the money primarily on themselves. JAMES PILON was sentenced today to 53 months in prison, while his wife, VERNA PILON, was sentenced last week to 78 months in prison, and they were ordered to pay $967,702 in restitution.
  • According to court records, the investigation of the Pilons, of Monee at the time, began in 2005 when the Illinois Securities Department ordered them to cease selling investments in the state. Instead of complying, the couple continued to solicit and obtain investment funds through 2005 and 2006. The couple operated numerous nusinesses through which they purported to sell two forms of investment — the Mortgage Acceleration Program, which essentially promised to pay investors’ monthly mortgage payments, completely pay off the outstanding balance in two years, and generate additional returns, and the Private Placement Program, which also promised high-yield returns of as much as 100 percent or more on investments within 90 days. In fact, neither investment program existed and the Pilons used some funds they fraudulently obtained to make Ponzi-type payments to lull some investors, while using the remaining funds for themselves. As a result, some investors’ mortgage payments were never made and their homes were foreclosed.
  • During court proceedings, Verna Pilon was identified as a member of the so-called Washitaw nation sovereign group and she repeatedly maintained that the U.S. District Court had no jurisdiction over her. Evidence showed that the Pilons were acquainted with many of their victims, including some who testified that the couple preyed upon their religious faith in appealing for investment funds.

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