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If you do not wish to go to jail but really must (allegedly) run a Ponzi scheme anyway, you would be well advised to heed some lessons from one Matthew Beasley. The first would be to make sure your scam was not “the most obvious Ponzi scheme” Hindenburg Research has “ever seen,” in which you claim to earn 12.5% in three months via short-term loans to those expecting personal-injury lawsuit awards without a single default in 16,000-plus tries. The second would be, when the F.B.I. shows up for a chat, don’t pull a gun on them and then confess everything.

Mr. Beasley came to the front door of his Las Vegas home standing sideways. When he turned to face the agents, he was holding a gun to his head.

Then he swung the gun toward the agents, a federal prosecutor said during a court hearing earlier this month. The agents shot him twice, the prosecutor said. Mr. Beasley retreated into his house.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation brought in a hostage negotiator. Mr. Beasley said he wished the agents had killed him—he said he would rather die than go to prison, the prosecutor said.

Bleeding from gunshot wounds in his chest and shoulder, he confessed: The investments were a Ponzi scheme, according to the prosecutor. Check his bank records, Mr. Beasley said, and it will all be clear….

He was charged with assaulting a federal officer.

That seems like the kind of thing that could send you to prison for significantly longer than even a $300 million Ponzi scheme. Not that he’s off the hook for that yet, either.

He hasn’t been charged with any financial improprieties. The FBI continues to investigate the alleged Ponzi scheme, according to people familiar with the matter.

An Alleged Fraud Uncovered by a Short Seller Ends in Gunfire [WSJ]

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