Las Vegas Man Charged with Operating Sports Wagering Ponzi Scheme that Stole $8.5 Million from Victims

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USA Authorities arrested a Las Vegas man charging him for a sports betting ponzi scheme to defraud 72 people out of over $8.5 million on a 13-count indictment, authorities said Thursday. Gambling and betting is illegal in several US states.

Matthew J. Turnipseede allegedly told investors, from March 2015 to May 2021, their money would fund a sports betting operation that promised double-digit returns using a special algorithm, according to a release from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Turnipseede is accused of never generating any profit and instead using the funds for personal expenses, such as family vacations to Disneyland and Hawaii.

He was charged with 12 counts of wire fraud and one count of mail fraud. The indictment alleges that the defendant provided victim investors with operating agreements in which he claimed that all money invested would be used exclusively to place bets on sporting events and that the defendant would not be paid any compensation for placing the wagers but would retain a percentage of the winning profits.

Turnipseede is accused of using false financial statements to back false gains and employing an accounting firm to generate IRS forms based on fraudulent figures.

A court case is pending with the Northern District of Ohio, where several investors were located.

The case was investigated by the Cleveland FBI and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Erica D. Barnhill and Brian McDonough