Investors in federally probed $300 million Ponzi scheme sue lawyer in Las Vegas
Investors in an alleged $300 million Ponzi scheme filed a class action lawsuit Monday against a Las Vegas attorney, who faces separate federal criminal charges, accused of orchestrating the operation.
Investors who filed the lawsuit in the district court include Elizabeth Lewis, who runs a Henderson firm company; Paul Maalouf, a retired law enforcement officer; Brad Maloff, owner of a local tax service, said the lawsuit.
The plaintiffs say they invest in J&J Consulting, and they were told the investments provided money to people who had settled legal claims in personal injury cases and were seeking short-term funding before the regulations are paid.
“In short, the J&J Conspirators marketed and sold interests in alleged personal injury settlements while promising returns of 10% to 20% paid every two months,” the lawsuit said. “Instead of investing the funds as depicted, the J&J Conspirators used the money in a classic Ponzi fashion, while making significant profits.”
The lawsuit accuses Las Vegas attorney Matthew Beasley of controlling the funds through his Wells Fargo account and soliciting investors with Jeffrey Judd, the president of J&J Consulting.
Earlier this month, Beasley was shot and killed by FBI agents who came to his home to question him about the Ponzi scheme, federal prosecutors said. The 49-year-old now faces a charge of assaulting a federal officer.
According to the lawsuit, the Ponzi scheme began in 2017 and expanded to include downline sellers who were “used to attract additional investors”.
The investors claimed to have lost tens of thousands of dollars, with Lewis losing more than $480,000, Maalouf nearly $90,000 and Maloff more than $200,000, according to the lawsuit.
“J&J Consulting targeted investors who shared the same faith, hobbies and gym memberships,” the lawsuit states.
Although Judd was not named as a defendant in Monday’s lawsuit, a separate lawsuit was filed Wednesday against Beasley, Judd and several companies associated with the men.
Mark Murphy, who filed the lawsuit, said he had invested around $700 million in the company since 2017 and would receive payments on his investments roughly every three months.
Murphy claimed he was aware of more than $16 million invested in the alleged Ponzi scheme by more than 163 investors, according to the lawsuit.
The investors who filed the lawsuit on Monday also named Wells Fargo as a defendant and said the bank should have known that Beasley’s bank account, which belonged to his law firm, was not being used for its intended purpose.
“Put simply, Wells Fargo knew that J&J and Beasley were running a sham investment and misappropriating and/or misusing investors’ funds through the trust account and associated accounts,” the lawsuit states.
Wells Fargo did not immediately respond to request for comment. Beasley’s attorney did not respond to request for comment and attempts to reach Judd on Monday evening were unsuccessful.
Judd told Murphy that the FBI searched his home and “his assets were frozen or seized based on the FBI’s allegations of a Ponzi scheme,” according to Murphy’s lawsuit.
“Even in that conversation, Judd said this was not a Ponzi scheme, the investments were sound, the business was legal and if allowed to continue, the profit distributions would continue. as well,” the lawsuit said.
On March 3, federal agents arrived at Beasley’s home on the 5400 block of Ruffian Road, near Ann Road. Beasley came to the door with a gun and at one point pointed the gun at his own head, prosecutors said.
When officers yelled at Beasley to drop the gun, he pointed the gun at officers “in a sweeping motion,” according to a criminal complaint. Officers then shot Beasley in the chest and shoulder, after which the attorney refused to leave his home for nearly four hours.
Beasley later “repeatedly confessed” to his involvement in the Ponzi scheme, prosecutors said.