Sunday, November 22, 2009

Financial Advisor Admits to $10.3 Mil Ponzi Scheme

A financial adviser from Monmouth County admitted today he financed a lavish lifestyle with money from investors he duped in a $10.3 million Ponzi scheme.

Maxwell Smith, 69, of Fair Haven, pleaded guilty in Superior Court in Morristown to one count of first-degree money-laundering. Under the plea agreement with the state Attorney General’s Office, Smith is likely to be sentenced to a 15-year prison term, with five years of parole ineligibility, but it will run concurrently with an upcoming federal prison sentence. Smith also had pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court in Trenton to wire fraud in the same securities scheme, authorities said.

Over the years, Smith raked in $10 million from the investors and paid out $2 million in interest to give a false sense of security, but he spent the other $8 million on himself and his wife. The money financed their high living, overseas travel and renting a villa in France, as well as dining in fancy restaurants, buying pricey antiques and gambling.

Smith also agreed to pay $10 million in restitution, but victims probably will never get all of their money back, said Edward D’Alessandro, attorney for 10 of the 13 victims.

"We’re trying to fill a bucket with a thimble," D’Alessandro said. "All of the money is gone. They lived very well and had an unbelievably lavish lifestyle."

The fraud began to unravel when the daughter of one elderly investor couple, Leonard and Collette Frederick of Whippany, thought Smith’s investment plan sounded a lot like the Ponzi scheme of disgraced financier Bernard Madoff, D’Alessandro said.

Full Article and Source:
Monmouth County Financial Advisor Admits Ponzi Scheme in State Court


Thelma said...

Parole after five years?

Not good enough!

Betty said...

These ponzi schemes hit the elderly particularly hard. They've spent their years earning and investing and to have that all taken away from them is more than criminal.

Nye & Company said...

Property of Maxwell Smith, Convicted of $10.3 Million Ponzi Scheme,
To be Auctioned by Nye & Company

MORRIS PLAINS, N.J., January 7, 2010 – From fine French furniture to a Foosball table, more than 200 items from the property of Maxwell Smith, convicted in 2009 of a $10.3 million Ponzi scheme, will be auctioned on January 27th and 28th by Nye & Company, Auctioneers, Appraisers & Antiques. The money stolen by Smith financed a lavish lifestyle, including overseas travel, a rented villa in France, plus expenditures on meals at expensive restaurants, gambling sprees and the purchase of antiques and other luxury items.

The auction is being conducted pursuant to a civil settlement of all claims of the victims against Maxwell Smith and his wife, Holly Smith, negotiated by coordinating counsel for the victims, Edward G. D’Alessandro, Jr. of the Florham Park law firm D’Alessandro & Jacovino. As part of the settlement terms, the Smiths voluntarily surrendering their home in Fair Haven, New Jersey and all of their personal property for sale at auction. As a result of the settlement, including the December 2009 sale of Smith’s home, and the auction of personal property, it is anticipated the victims will recover in excess of $1 million from the Smiths. D'Alessandro considers the former financial advisor to be New Jersey’s own “Mini-Madoff” because of the similarities to the Ponzi scheme perpetrated by the infamous Bernie Madoff.