Feds Charge Santa Barbara Man with $12 Million Ponzi Scheme

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Darrell Aviss during a 2008 TV interview on overseas investment strategies. | Credit: Courtesy

A federal grand jury this Tuesday indicted 63-year-old Santa Barbara resident Darrell Aviss for allegedly running a $12 million Ponzi scheme that spanned over eight years and bought him, among other things, luxury cars, expensive watches, trips to Monaco, more than $100,000 in purchases at a Santa Barbara nightclub, and 20 tickets to a U2 concert and afterparty.

Aviss was charged with multiple counts of wire fraud and money laundering. He’d reportedly promised his victims ― most of whom were elderly ― that their money would be used to buy annuities from Swiss insurance companies, said Thom Mrozek, a spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Justice.

According to Mrozek, Aviss ran the scheme from at least 2012 through last summer. Aviss allegedly told his victims that the annuities he offered were safe and…

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