Local Police In California Uncover Ponzi Scheme While Investigating Woman For Unrelated Crime; Ponzi Targeted At Latin Immigrants
Police in Redondo Beach, Calif., say they were investigating Mariana Montes for a separate crime and seeking her arrest on a warrant, but discovered during their probe that she had wiped out investors by running a Ponzi scheme targeting Latin immigrants.
Montes, 41, now is jailed on the original warrant, and the Ponzi investigation is proceeding as a separate matter.
Police said the Ponzi was operated through a bogus company known as â€œFast Results Investments.â€ Montes met with individual investors beginning in 2007, and promised clients who invested a minimum of $5,000 returns of 25 percent within 30 to 90 days.
At least 55 victims have been identified in the opening days of the probe, police said today.
Some of the victims “invested their entire life savings or complete retirement account balances,” police said.
“Montes used the investorsâ€™ money to purchase designer clothing, a new vehicle and to fund her daily activities,” police said.
Police said their preliminary estimate of $500,000 in losses likely would rise, perhaps significantly.
“It is believed that there are many more victims of Montesâ€™ Ponzi scheme that have not yet been identified,” police said, noting that they already have evidence that Montes was conducting business in Arizona.
Investigators at the Redondo Beach Police Department have established a special telephone line for possible victims. The phone line has information in both English and Spanish.
The Police Department is urging any possible victims of this Ponzi scheme to call 310- 379-2477 Ext. 2332.
Montes is being held in the Los Angeles County jail, on a warrant for “another financial crime” unrelated to the Ponzi scheme, police said. Jail records show the crime was a felony, but the specific crime was not defined.
Bail was set at $572,465.