Man pleads guilty to Ponzi scheme aimed at retired transit workers
Police arrested 64-year-old Thomas Mitchell of Los Angeles for running a $7 million Ponzi scheme that targeted retired LA County bus and train operators. According to the Daily News, Mitchell has pleaded guilty to mail fraud and now faces up to 20 years in federal prison. The U.S. Attorney’s Office says many of the retirees had worked as transit operators at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
Officials alleged that Mitchell’s Ponzi scheme operated from 1995 to 2010. Prosecutors said Mitchell portrayed himself as an investment adviser and falsely promised high returns through stocks, bonds and real estate. He conned victims into transferring retirement funds from their employers’ retirement plans to accounts he controlled.
Through a plea agreement, Mitchell has agreed to pay about $7 million in restitution. He will make a federal court appearance on April 21.
CNN.com highlighted one victim, 70-year-old retired bus driver Bobby Bradley, who lost $215,000, his entire life savings. Also highlighted was Frances Wills, a 67-year-old former bus operator who was conned out of her $156,000 retirement fund.