LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — More than 1,000 investors allegedly fell victim to a Las Vegas lawyer who is accused of running a half-billion-dollar Ponzi scheme, federal prosecutors said Monday.
Last Wednesday, a grand jury indicted Matthew Beasley, 50, on charges of wire fraud and money laundering, the 8 News Now Investigators first reported. Beasley pleaded not guilty Friday.
Court documents released shortly after Beasley’s arrest in March 2022 alleged more than 600 investors took part in the Las Vegas-based scheme to buy luxury items and pay off gambling debts. Prosecutors on Monday said the number of investor victims was closer to 1,000.
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.
According to the indictment, Beasley allegedly collected money from “plaintiffs in personal injury lawsuits who wanted to borrow money against their pending settlements with insurance companies and [who] were willing to pay high-interest rates to borrow the money for 90 days.”
Beasley has remained in federal custody for more than a year. A hearing on the future of his detention was scheduled for Friday, April 7, records showed.
“This indictment alleges the defendant devised and orchestrated a large-scale, multimillion-dollar Ponzi scheme with thousands of victims across the country,” U.S. Attorney Jason Frierson said in a statement. “While the allegations are intolerable regardless of the defendant’s position, they are even more egregious when considering defendant’s position of trust as an attorney. The U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to pursue, investigate, and prosecute individuals who lure victims with a false promise and take advantage for their personal benefit.”
“Investment fraud can be crippling for its victims, with life savings obliterated in a flash,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Spencer Evans said in a statement. “The defendant used fraudulent means to mislead multiple victims into believing they were investing in legitimate legal contracts. The FBI is committed to identifying and working with anyone impacted by this brazen scheme. This indictment is only one piece of an ongoing investigation. We will continue to follow the facts and pursue anyone who seeks to defraud others through deceptive and illegal practices.”
Federal prosecutors dismissed a 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. 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.
If convicted, Beasley faces a sentence of up to 160 years in prison and millions of dollars in fines, prosecutors said.
Beasley’s attorney declined to comment on the case Friday.
The FBI was asking anyone who may be a victim of the Ponzi scheme to complete a survey to help with the investigation.