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Colorado couple charged with fraud

A Colorado couple faces charges that they ran a $17 million Ponzi scheme that defrauded investors across the country.

Prosecutors allege that the pair's fraud involved telling investors in 13 states that they would earn huge returns by investing in diamonds and international securities.

The 65-year-old man and 60-year-old woman are married and from Golden, Colorado. They were arrested in Atlanta, Georgia, however, and are to be returned to Denver for criminal proceedings.

The charges each face: wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and interstate transportation of stolen funds.

Authorities claim the pair ran a company that promised investors returns of 48 percent to 120 percent. They further claim that the couple commingled investments rather than keeping separate accounts for each investor and used later funds from investors to pay "profits" to early investors.

The couple is accused of using investor money to buy a million-dollar house in Golden, as well as to purchase a $35,000 SUV and to pay a $5,000 deposit for the wedding of their daughter.

Authorities claim the pair told a variety of lies to investors to try to stall demands for payments, including a story that a plane carrying a load of diamonds had an emergency landing in Amsterdam after three of its engines failed.

One law enforcement official said the investigation is not yet complete.

If they're convicted on all charges, they would each face maximum sentences of 20 years in prison. Both the husband and wife could individually be fined $250,000 as well.

Obviously, the accusations against the pair are serious and the potential penalties harsh. In these kinds of cases, the accused should never speak to authorities before a detailed discussion with a criminal defense attorney experienced in fraud cases.

Source: infozine.com: "Colorado Couple Charged with Operating $17 Million Ponzi Scheme": Oct. 1, 2011

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