Sixty-six years after the death of Carlo Ponzi, inventor of the so-called "Ponzi scheme," that fraud is still being perpetrated on unsuspecting citizens looking to make a financial killing or trying to save their homes from foreclosure.
Randy Poulson, 44, of Woolwich, Gloucester County, New Jersey, pleaded guilty June 23 in Camden federal court to one count of mail fraud that ultimately resulted in more than 25 homeowners losing their homes and investors bilked in excess of $3 million.
According to prosecutors, Poulson, who owned and operated Equity Capital Investments LLC and Poulson-Russo LLC, promised to pay the mortgages of distressed homeowners facing foreclosure if they sold their homes to him. He obtained the deeds to more than 25 distressed properties causing the homeowners to vacate their homes so renters could move in. Afterwards Poulson stopped making the monthly mortgage payments causing foreclosure on the properties without the homeowners' knowledge.
At the same time, as president of the South Jersey Real Estate Investors Association, Poulson solicited private investors and attendees to seminars he conducted to invest in Equity Capital, which purportedly bought and sold real estate. Prosecutors said Poulson told investors that their money would be used to acquire and rehabilitate properties he would rent out and then sell for a 10 to 20 percent return on their investment.
In typical Ponzi-like fashion, instead of following through as promised, Poulson spent the money he received on personal expenses and to repay other investors, prosecutors said. He is scheduled to be sentenced October 2, 2015.