by Brian Mahany
Day after day and the fraud stories keep rolling in. This one comes to us from Arizona where promoter Miko Dion Wady received a 9 year prison sentence for running a Ponzi scheme.
Prosecutors say Wady lured investors into his scheme with promises of high returns and the chance to be involved in the entertainment industry. Potential investors were told their money was being used to promote concerts for the Rolling Stones and other famous entertainers such as U2, Jimmy Buffet and Faith Hill. Their money really went to pay other investors and fund Wady’s lavish lifestyle.
Prosecutors say that none of the money went to any of the shows he claimed to promote. While some did go to promote some lesser named acts, much went to payoff earlier investors – a classic indicator of a Ponzi scheme.
Millions went to purchase a Bentley, Lamborghini, Ferrari and a 41 foot yacht. (One luxury car apparently wasn’t enough- prosecutors say that he purchased 8 cars in all.)
How much did Wady and his business, Dezert Productions, raise? The government says $50 million.
Wady’s adventures came to an end when one of Wady’s associates became suspicious over late interest payments and hired a former FBI agent turned private investigator to check things out. This is where the story really gets weird. Prosecutors say that when the associate, James Cundiff, learned from his investigator that Wady was running a Ponzi scheme, Cundiff himself stole $300,000. Although Cundiff may have been the whistleblower, his theft of $300,000 earned him a 2 year prison stay according to published reports.
Once again, a little bit of due diligence would have revealed that Wady was a fraud. He didn’t promote a single one of the concerts that he claimed. With 36 well known artists allegedly under contract with him, it isn’t hard to check out someone with such experience and track record.
Also the 4% per month rate of return advertised by Wady to investors is another red flag.
It’s never the victims fault and we don’t suggest for one second anything to the contrary. Wady is a crook that belongs in prison. Still, we hope that a little due diligence will save future potential investors from becoming victims. It is much easier to prevent a fraud then to get back one’s money. Prosecutors say that of the $50,000,000 raised, $30 million is simply gone.
If you are the victim of a fraud, contact us. The sooner the better. Often we can seize assets before they are gone or find other responsible third parties who may be on the hook for your loss.
Mahany & Ertl – America’s Fraud Lawyers. Offices in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Detroit, Michigan & Portland, Maine. Services available in most jurisdictions.