A financier from Mound pleaded guilty Friday to operating a Ponzi scheme in which he stole more than $1 million from individual investors to fund his and his wife’s lavish lifestyle.
Jeremy Richard Lundin, 30, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to one count of mail fraud and one count of money laundering, both felonies, after a monthslong investigation into his company, Big Island Capital, by the FBI and IRS, Acting U.S. Attorney Gregory Brooker said in a statement Friday.
According to his guilty plea, Lundin admitted to working through a network of associates and friends to solicit at least 51 investors by promising “exponential growth through options trading,” then taking their money to finance personal trips, buy expensive jewelry and purchase a luxury boat.
From December 2014 to May 2017, Lundin lured the victims into a false sense of security by misrepresenting the contents of his brokerage account, where Big Island’s assets were meant to be held for safekeeping, according to the criminal complaint. He once claimed the firm’s capital was $730,000 when, in reality, Lundin had not yet even opened the brokerage account.
“Jeremy Lundin’s friends and associates gave him hundreds of thousands of dollars based upon outright lies. Mr. Lundin spent their hard-earned money — in some cases, their life savings — to travel, shop, drive luxury cars, and otherwise fund a lifestyle that many of his victims will never enjoy,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Amber Brennan in a news release. “Mr. Lundin has admitted his crime and he will now face the consequences of his criminal actions.”
As part of the scheme, Lundin provided the victim investors with written materials claiming that the goal of Big Island Capital was to “generate profits with options trading.” Although he could not “guarantee” an exact percent, he would “shoot for” returns of between 40 and 80 percent, according to federal prosecutors.
From May 2015 to May 2017, $992,000 was deposited in that account; over the same period, $933,950 was transferred directly into his and his wife’s personal checking account, authorities say.
On Jan. 27, 2016, for instance, one of his clients gave Lundin $98,000, court records show. Instead of investing the money, Lundin immediately used most of it to buy a $71,118 Maserati sports car, according to an IRS affidavit.
A sentencing date has not yet been set.