BALTIMORE — A Towson man pleaded guilty to participating in a $550 million Ponzi scheme involving conspiracy and wire fraud.
The U.S. Attorney's Office said 53-year-old Kevin Merrill admitted that starting in 2013 he along with his co-conspirators stole millions by tricking investors into buying consumer debt portfolios, including student loans and credit cards.
Consumer debt portfolios are defaulted consumer debts to banks/credit card issuers, student loan lenders, and car/truck financiers, which are then sold in batches called “portfolios” to third parties that attempt to collect on the debts.
According to the complaint filed in the civil action by the SEC, the victim investors included small business owners, restaurateurs, construction contractors, retirees, doctors, lawyers, accountants, bankers, talent agents, professional athletes, and financial advisors, located in Maryland, Washington, D.C., Northern Virginia, Denver, Texas, Chicago, New York, and elsewhere. Merrill told officials that he knew the scheme caused financial hardship to at least five victims.
Merrill faces a maximum of 40 years in prison as well as a possible fine of $500,000. He is scheduled to be sentenced in September.
Co-conspirator Cameron Jezierski previously pleaded guilty to his role in the scheme and will be sentenced in August. The other co-conspirator Jay Ledford is set to be arraigned next month.