Attorney General Bill McCollum News Release
April 2, 2010
Media Contact: Jenn Meale
Phone: (850) 245-0150
Attorney General Files Injunction, Freezes Assets In Alleged Ponzi Scheme
~ First lawsuit filed under new Florida Securities and Investor Protection Act ~
TALLAHASSEE, FL – Attorney General today announced his office has obtained an injunction against and frozen the assets of a company and two individuals who have allegedly been developing a $23 million investment Ponzi scheme. According to the Attorney General’s lawsuit, filed yesterday in Pasco County Circuit Court, Botfly LLC and principals David R. Lewalski, and Jon J. Hammill targeted victims with promises of high investment returns, but in reality spent millions on expensive personal items.
“Right now, so many Floridians are trying to make sound financial decisions and protect their families and their finances,” said Attorney General McCollum. “This scheme may have made offers that sounded promising, but in the end, people’s futures were at stake.”
According to the lawsuit, investors were promised up to a 10 percent monthly return on a promissory note. Bank records that were subpoenaed by the Attorney General’s Office indicated the defendants allegedly collected over $23 million in investments from more than 550 investors, many of which were Florida residents, and returned only $11 million of that in principal and interest payments. The remainder of investors’ money was allegedly spent on personal expenses such as fancy automobiles, a Ducati motorcycle, luxury hotels, jet charters, clothing and jewelry.
The injunction prohibits the company and its owners from soliciting new investments, destroying any records or documents related to their scheme, or moving any assets to prevent authorities from obtaining restitution for victims. The Court also granted the Attorney General’s request appoint a receiver to collect what assets may remain so that investors might be able to recover as much of their original investments as possible.
The order to freeze assets and the injunction were obtained yesterday after an investigation by a dedicated team in the Attorney General’s Office that works under the Florida Securities and Investor Protection Act, a new law championed last year by the Attorney General and bill sponsors Representative Tom Grady and Senator Garrett Richter. The law provides the Attorney General’s Office with greater authority to pursue investment and securities fraud.
A botfly is an insect whose larvae burrow under the skin of mammals and eat their flesh until they mature into an adult fly.
Copies of the legal documents filed are available online at the following links: