Accused of Being Involved in a Ponzi Scheme? Here’s What to Do Next.

Ponzi schemes, also called pyramid schemes, are often the punchline of the joke. You may think of timeshare salespeople, investing schemes, or multi-level marketing (MLM) companies, and, in many cases, you might be correct. But what you might not know about Ponzi schemes is that they are a federal crime. In this article, a federal criminal defense attorney in St. Petersburg with The Rickman Law Firm discusses how you may be inadvertently caught in a Ponzi scheme and how to protect yourself if you are under federal investigation.

Related: Common White Collar Federal Crimes

What Is a Ponzi Scheme?

The technical definition of a Ponzi scheme is “a form of fraud in which belief in the success of a nonexistent enterprise is fostered by the payment of quick returns to the first investors from money invested by later investors.” This form of fraud lures investors and pays profits to earlier investors with funds from more recent investors. The scheme leads victims to believe that profits are coming from product sales or other means, and they remain unaware that other investors are the source of funds. In many instances, these schemes are veiled as legitimate businesses or “multi-level marketing” companies. Running a Ponzi scheme is a federal crime and is investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI).

How You Can Be Inadvertently Guilty in a Ponzi Scheme

Many people get caught up in a Ponzi scheme after investing a significant amount of money and being duped into recruiting others. In many instances, people who begin as victims become so wrapped up in the scheme that they become guilty. However, in most cases, those charged in Ponzi schemes are the ones at the top of the pyramid who are responsible for starting the scheme in the first place. Still, it is possible to be charged even if you did not create the idea for the scheme.

Related: 3 Most Common Types of Fraud in Florida

What to Do If Accused of Crimes Involving Ponzi Schemes

The most important thing you can do if you are being investigated for any federal crime, especially crimes involving Ponzi schemes, is to contact a federal criminal defense lawyer in St. Petersburg. Contacting a defense attorney does not mean that you are guilty and, although there is a stigma surrounding hiring legal counsel, hiring an attorney does not implicate you in the crime. Rather, it provides you the opportunity to understand the best defense possible for your unique situation, which is crucial in any white collar crime.

That’s why, if you stand accused of being part of a Ponzi scheme, you should get in touch with a federal criminal defense attorney in St. Petersburg with The Rickman Law Firm as soon as possible. Your attorney will help you understand your rights and the best legal defense for your case.

For a free consultation with a federal criminal defense lawyer in St. Petersburg, please contact The Rickman Law Firm today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.


Schedule Consultation

Case Results

Hillsborough County DUI Dropped

The Defendant was charged with DUI after his vehicle was stopped for erratic driving. When Officers approached the Defendant had a medical issue that resulted in him being transported to the hospital. At the hospital,
Show More


The Client was contacted by law enforcement and Child Protective Services for allegations of Child Abuse. The Client contacted the Rickman Law Firm and the firm immediately contacted the detective working up the investigation to
Show More


The Client was arrested for DUI after law enforcement observed the Client swerving in and out of her lane and conducted a traffic stop where the Client appeared to be impaired. Even though
Show More