LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A Las Vegas lawyer charged in federal court for allegedly running a half-billion-dollar Ponzi scheme to fund his lavish lifestyle pleaded not guilty Friday.
On Wednesday, a grand jury indicted Matthew Beasley, 50, on charges of wire fraud and money laundering, records showed. Prosecutors charged Beasley last year in the FBI agent-involved shooting on Mar. 3, 2022, at his home near the 215 Beltway and Ann Road.
Federal prosecutors dismissed the charge of assault on a federal officer on Friday, writing instead the government had “decided to pursue” the wire fraud and money laundering charges, documents said.
More than 600 investors took part in the Las Vegas-based Ponzi scheme involving nearly half a billion dollars used to buy luxury items and pay off gambling debts, court documents revealed last year.
Over the course of five years, hundreds of people gave Beasley a total of more than $460 million, the indictment said. The investments were made in $80,000 and $100,000 installments.
A federal lawsuit filed last year by the Securities and Exchange Commission against Beasley, his law firm and others alleged investors were told they could “purchase interests in insurance tort settlements” and that they would receive at least 12.5% return every 90 days, court documents said.
Beasley has remained in federal custody for more than a year as the original case and investigation moved forward. A hearing on the future of his detention was scheduled for Friday, April 7, records showed.
A jury trial was tentatively scheduled for June.
The state bar suspended Beasley’s law license last year. His lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.