Marie and Richard Dalton of Golden Colorado were charged in a federal criminal complaint that was unsealed on September 30, 2011 with operating a $17 million Ponzi scheme that lulled investors in 13 states with claims of big potential returns on investments in diamonds and trading international notes. Though they were arrested in Atlanta, Georgia the couple will face charges at the U.S. District Court in Denver.
They have been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud and interstate transportation of stolen funds.
The complaint alleges the couple operated a company called Universal Consulting Resources LLC that defrauded investors with claims of guaranteed investment returns of 48 to 120 percent. In fact, the company operated as a Ponzi scheme in which investor moneys were commingled and used to pay out profits to early investors to create the false appearance to new investors that the investments were performing as promised.
The Dalton’s indictment alleges they used investor funds to pay $936,000 for their home as well as to purchase a $35,000 Toyota Highlander and a $5,000 deposit on their daughter’s wedding.
The indictment alleges that when the Daltons learned they were under investigation by the SEC they discontinued making payments to investors and falsely represented to investors that they could expect payments soon. They also misled investors with false claims that the company’s European trader was switching banks, that the company was liquidating a cache of diamonds to pay investors back, that a plane carrying diamonds had been forced to land in Amsterdam because three engines had gone out and that the company had discovered it was holding 18,000 fake diamonds.
The investigation is ongoing and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. If they are convicted they could face a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000.
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