Rockford man pleads guilty to $4 million Ponzi scheme - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Rockford man pleads guilty to $4 million Ponzi scheme

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ROCKFORD (WREX) -

The owner and CEO of Destiny's Partners, Inc. pled guilty in Federal Court to mail fraud, admitting to defrauding investors out of over $4 million.

James Pantazelos, 63, admitted to participating in a Ponzi-type scheme between May 2007 and December 2010. In the plea agreement, Pantazelos says he and other associates invited people to attend conferences around the country to learn more about investing with Destiny's Partners. Potential investors were told their funds would be placed in "Private Investment Trading Platforms" that traded bank notes in foreign markets. He also claimed funds would be donated to charitable contributions.

The plea agreement also states that investors were guaranteed their principal investment would be returned, and promised returns of up to 200 percent. Pantazelos admitted in the plea agreement that he knew all of those promises to be false.

He also admitted to using most of those funds to pay for personal expenses such as buying homes for family members, buying cars for himself and family members, and trying to open a restaurant. According to the plea agreement, funds were also used to make Ponzi-type payments to previous investors in order to make them believe their investments were successful. Those investors would then help recruit new investors.

Pantazelos admitted that he did not pay investors the promised rate of return and also did not return their principal investments. He then admitted to lying to investors about why he could not pay them back and told them they would receive their money in the near future.

In all, Pantazelos admitted he received around $4,294,930 from investors, but only repaid about $872,262.50 in Ponzi-type payments to some investors.

Pantazelos faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine or an alternate fine totaling twice the loss or twice the gain, whichever is greater. He will also be made to pay restitution to his victims.

His sentencing date is scheduled for December 13.

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