Ponzi scheme suspect uses underwater scooter to try and evade FBI in California

A fleeing Ponzi scheme suspect dove right into a frigid Northern California lake with an underwater scooter earlier than FBI brokers waited him out to make the arrest on Monday, government mentioned.

Matthew Piercey, 44, has been indicted on 31 criminal counts of cord fraud, mail fraud, cash laundering and witness tampering, in step with court docket paperwork.

FBI brokers attempted to arrest Piercey in Redding — about 160 miles north of Sacramento — earlier than “he fled by means of automotive” and “then later onto Interstate five northbound,” Assistant U.S. Lawyer Christpher Hales wrote in a record opposing bail for Piercey.

The chase resulted in Lake Shasta the place “Piercey deserted his truck” and “pulled one thing out of it, and swam into Lake Shasta,” the prosecutor persevered.

“Piercey spent a while out of sight underwater the place legislation enforcement may best see bubbles. He remained within the frigid water for roughly 25 mins,” Hales wrote. “Legislation enforcement arrested Piercey at that time, roughly an hour after their preliminary touch in Redding.”

Matthew Piercey spent just about 30 mins in frigid Lake Shasta the use of the Yamaha 350Li submersible software earlier than he in the end resurfaced.U.S. District Courtroom / Japanese Disrict of Calif.

Piercery’s temporary underwater get away was once made conceivable by means of a Yamaha 350LI Seascooter underwater submersible software, government mentioned. The underwater toy retails for roughly $1,200.

Paramedics and Piercey each mentioned he was once bodily tremendous, simply rainy, and he was once allowed to become dry garments dropped at the scene by means of his spouse, government mentioned.

He was once scheduled to seem earlier than a federal pass judgement on in Sacramento past due Tuesday afternoon, when prosecutors will argue the suspect should not be allowed to put up bail. It wasn’t right away transparent if Piercey had employed, or been assigned, a attorney.

“Piercey’s try to flee from arresting brokers this morning is a transparent demonstration of the intense flight possibility that he poses,” Hales wrote.

Prosecutors accused Piercey of stealing million via his funding corporate, Circle of relatives Wealth Legacy and Zolla.

From about July 2015 via August 2020, Piercey and co-defendant Kenneth Winton, 67, allegedly raised $35 million from traders and falsified statements about returns.

They moved cash round and dispersed $eight.eight million to traders, however maximum finances went to “quite a lot of trade and private bills, together with two residential homes and a houseboat,” in step with prosecutors.

“Few, if any, liquid belongings stay to pay off traders,” prosecutors mentioned.

If convicted, Piercey faces as much as 20 years in the back of bars.

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