Richard Dalton (65) and Marie Dalton (60) were the creators of a $17 million Ponzi scheme. The couple was originally arrested in September on a single charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, mail fraud and transporting stolen goods interstate. However, they are now standing trial for money laundering, fraud and conspiring to defraud the United States.
Universal Consulting Resources LLC, was a company that the Dalton’s ran that guaranteed its investors returns that ranged between 48% and 120%. According to the Government, this was a Ponzi scheme. The Daltons used the money given to them by investors to pay for their home in Golden ($936,000), to put a down a deposit for their daughter’s wedding ($5,000) and to buy a new car ($35,000).
Once the couple realized that the Securities and Exchange Commission was investigating them, they stopped paying their investors. They offered them a variety of excuses which ranged from delays in payments to having to liquidate diamonds to be able to pay. Once the SEC sued Richard Dalton, he escaped to South Africa. Once he was returned to U.S soil, he and his wife were taken into custody and classified as serious flight risks.
What are their Crimes?
Money laundering: Whoever, knowing that the property involved in a financial transaction is from the proceeds made from some form of unlawful activity and conducts (or attempts to) such a transaction which involves:
- With the intent to propagate the unlawful activity.
- With the intent to indulge in such behavior that will violate Section 7201 or 7206 of the Internal Revenue Code (1986).
He or she also knows that the transaction was created to:
- To disguise or conceal the location, ownership, source, nature and the control of the proceeds generated from the unlawful activity.
- To avoid making a report of the transaction under either State or Federal law.
The guilty parties will be fined a maximum of $500,000 or double the amount of the property that was involved in the transaction. Whichever of the two that is greater. The accused can also be sentenced to a jail term of maximum 20 years or both.
Defrauding the United States Government: Activities that the courts have ruled as ways to defraud (or conspiring to defraud) the government of the United States under Title 18, Chapter 47, Section 371:
- Cheating the government out of property, money or both.
- Obstructing and interfering with the legitimate activities of the government.
- Misusing or wrongfully using the instruments of the government.
The maximum fine for this is $500,000 and the culprits could face 10 years of prison time. In some cases, both penalties are applied.