Las Vegas Ponzi Scheme Lawyer is ‘Danger to Community’

Posted on: April 26, 2023, 06:12h. 

Last updated on: April 26, 2023, 04:38h.

A Las Vegas lawyer accused of spearheading a $460 million Ponzi scheme is a “flight risk” and a “danger to the community,” according to prosecutors.

Matthew Beasley, Ponzi, Las Vegas
Matthew Beasley, above, claims he paid up to $20 million to his bookie using investors’ money. He also bought luxury items, including property, boats, and high-end vehicles. (Image: Wall Street Journal)

On Monday, a federal judge agreed, reversing a magistrate judge’s order to release Matthew Beasley, 50, on bond ahead of his trial.

Beasley has been charged with wire fraud and money laundering in relation to the sale of bogus interests in insurance tort settlements. He was arrested in March 2022 after an armed standoff at his home, during which federal agents shot and injured him.

Beasley told around 600 investors that he had a litigation financing business. That office facilitated access to personal injury lawyers whose clients had settlements with insurance companies, according to court filings.

He said the clients were prepared to pay a premium to get a portion of their settlement in advance rather than wait for insurance payouts. He told his victims they would receive a 12.5% return on their investment every 90 days, prosecutors claim.

‘Scheme of Artifice’

His claims were a “scheme of artifice,” according to the indictment. In reality, Beasley used money from new investors to “pay interest on purportedly maturing investments owed to earlier investments.” He also used the money to pay off his gambling debts and buy luxury items, including property, boats, and high-end vehicles.

When the FBI visited Beasley’s Las Vegas home in March 2022 to question him about the alleged Ponzi scheme, the lawyer pointed a gun to his head before allegedly waving it at agents. That prompted them to open fire, wounding him in his chest and shoulder.

Despite his injuries, Beasley refused to emerge from the property. During the ensuing standoff, he admitted guilt to an FBI negotiator, according to the SEC complaint.

I’m a Liar’

On Monday, prosecutors said the incident showed he was a danger to himself and others, adding that he was “unquestionably suicidal” during the confrontation.

He told the crisis negotiator that he wished the FBI agents ‘would have killed me,’ and that ‘I need to get the balls to (expletive) pull this trigger,” prosecutors wrote.

Prosecutors also cited a letter Beasley wrote to the FBI in which he refers to himself as a “liar” and a “horrible human being.” He also said he had paid between $15 million to $20 million to his bookie “as a result of gambling debt and extortion” and said he had been threatened by this individual, whose name is redacted.

“I realized a couple of years ago I was too far in to ever recover,” Beasley wrote in the undated letter. “At that point, I made a choice that I was going to give my family what I’d always wanted them to have before it came to an end. Amazingly, I was able to have another two to three years treating them in a way I felt they deserved to be treated. I realize it was selfish, but I knew this day would come and they would lose more than anyone else.”