Attorney General Pam Bondi News Release
November 18, 2011
Contact: Whitney Ray
Phone: (850) 245-0150
Principal of Investment Ponzi Scheme Sentenced to Federal Prison and Will Pay $19 Million in Restitution as a Result of Attorney General’s Office Investigation
Tallahassee, Fla. –Attorney General Pam Bondi today announced that David Lewalski, the principal in the investment company Botfly LLC, was sentenced to a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison. The Attorney General’s Office filed a lawsuit against Botfly and its principals in 2010, stopping the firm’s ponzi scheme and preserving $3.8 million in domestic assets and $1.1 million in foreign accounts for investors. As a result of the state’s litigation, Lewalski agreed to a consent judgment with our office ordering him to pay $19 million in restitution to consumers, which represents the full amount of their net losses.
“Exploitation and deception of more than 500 Floridians totaling millions of dollars is despicable and will not be tolerated,” stated Attorney General Pam Bondi. “I am pleased that our office stopped the Botfly Ponzi scheme before it collapsed so that victims will receive some compensation for their losses.”
Lewalski pled guilty to running a fraudulent investment scheme which targeted victims with promises of high returns. Botfly LLC was actually a Ponzi scheme that used funds from recent investors to pay interest and principal payments to existing investors. Botfly supposedly invested victims’ funds in foreign currency trading, but the evidence revealed the funds were spent on expensive personal items such as a Ferrari, two Porches, two Corvettes, a Ducati motorcycle, luxury hotels, jet charters, clothing and jewelry.
Attorneys and investigators with the Attorney General’s Office spent months working with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), the United States Department of Justice and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service to assist with the criminal investigation that led to Lewalski’s arrest and conviction. The case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida in Tampa.