A madman launches a $35-million Ponzi scheme in crypto: his jet-ski escape will amaze you

A game of naval battle – We are, unfortunately, used to stories of pyramid scheme scams in the cryptosphere. However, we have to admit that the „exit scam“ of the present scam is as original as it is fantastic: the criminal tried to escape with… an underwater scooter!

A rather classic pyramid scam to start with

On 16 November, the Department of Justice (DOJ) of the Eastern District of California issued a press release on a new investment fraud case involving cryptomoney.

Matthew Piercey, a 44-year-old Californian, is accused of having carried out an investment fraud scheme from July 2015 to August 2020 that would have raised a total of approximately $35 million.

The scam went through Family Wealth Legacy and Zolla. They promised high returns thanks to their so-called investments in mining cryptomoney or in a trading fund with a super trading algorithm.

As always, in the Ponzi scheme, the crook and his accomplice (a certain Kenneth Winton) used some of the bitcoin revival from the last investors to make payments to the first investors to arrive.

An underwater escape attempt!

Where this sad story becomes original is during the arrest of Matthew Piercey by the forces of law and order.

After his indictment on November 12th, the individual tried to flee from the FBI agents who came to arrest him. To do so, he first provoked a chase by taking his vehicle to leave on the nearest motorway.

According to an article in the New York Times, Matthew Piercey ended up stopping at a lake and then plunged into the water in his street clothes. Using a Yamaha underwater scooter (the same model as below), he spent 25 minutes splashing around in (and under) the water, before being rescued by law enforcement.

The man faces no less than 31 charges, including wire fraud, mail fraud, money laundering and witness intimidation. The charges all carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

As for his colourful escape attempt, it will surely add to the charge against the accused. Further proof, if proof were needed, that it is better to be wary of the „super opportunities“ of investing in cryptos, if one does not want the story to end in a fishtail.