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Towson man sentenced to 22 years in federal prison for $396 million Ponzi scheme

Posted at 8:57 PM, Oct 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-10 20:57:08-04

Court officials said the promoter of the largest ever ponzi scheme in Maryland was charged Thursday.

Kevin Merrill of Towson, was sentenced to to 22 years in federal prison for conspiracy and wire fraud from a $396 million investment fraud scheme from 2012 to 2018.

According to officials, it started at the beginning of 2013 when Merrill had a few associates ask investors to team up with them in purchasing consumer debt portfolios. Merrill used fake sales agreements and other documents to convince individuals to invest with his companies.

Merrill's plea agreement stated that he deposited approximately $4.3 million from investors, while an associate, Jay Ledford raised just over $186,000 from investors. The team they would use the money to buy consumer debt portfolios and make money for them by collecting the payments that people made on their debts or selling the portfolios for a profit to other third-party debt buyers, in a practice called “flipping.”

When he met with the FBI, Merrill admitted to lying to agents and the scheme continued. He also gave the agents false documents.

According to court documents, during his arrest, Merrill had his wife remove assets from their Florida home by preparing a handwritten note instructing his wife to conceal assets from the court-appointed receiver, which he intended to hold up to the glass in the detention center.

RELATED: Wife of ponzi scheme perpetrator pleads guilty to federal charges

Merrill was ordered to to pay restitution in the full amount of the victims’ losses, which will be determined later, which is at least $189,166,116.