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A young woman named Molly runs poker games, but one of her players, Brad, is involved in a Ponzi scheme. As a result, Molly is being investigated by FBI agents and questioned about who attended her games:

The L. A. players and I were given a choice. Testify against each other in open court, or help make restitution to the victims of Brad's Ponzi scheme. I wrote the government a check for $500,000.

Why does Molly have to make restitution to the victims of Brad's Ponzi scheme?

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  • Because of her role in the games, she's considered an accomplice?
    – OldPadawan
    Commented Nov 17, 2023 at 6:36
  • Presumably because she was receiving the proceeds of the ponzi scheme via the poker games, even if she wasn't directly involved? Potentially she could have been charged with running the games as a money laundering scheme
    – JayFor
    Commented Nov 17, 2023 at 8:23

1 Answer 1

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She was offered a choice, only two options. Once caught, every fraud perpetrator/accomplice can be sentenced to jail and/or financial compensation.

People convicted of this fraud can serve long prison sentences. They may have to pay restitution to their victims, although the nature of the crime typically leaves very little money to do so. Involvement in Ponzi schemes can result in fraud charges. The government takes fraudulent schemes very seriously. These convictions can have severe penalties that are civil and criminal. Ponzi Schemes

“Thanks to civil asset forfeiture, the Department of Justice is announcing today the record-setting distribution of restitution to victims of Bernard Madoff’s notorious investment fraud scheme,” said Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein. “We have recovered billions of dollars from third parties – not Mr. Madoff – and are now returning that money to tens of thousands of victims. This is the largest restoration of forfeited property in history.” Department of Justice Compensates Victims of Bernard Madoff Fraud Scheme With Funds Recovered Through Asset Forfeiture

Ponzi investment schemes are often confused with pyramid schemes. This financial fraud has many similarities but some key differences. An example of Largest Payment of Forfeited Funds in the History of the Department of Justice’s Victim Compensation Program:

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “This Office continues its historic work seeking justice for the victims of Madoff’s heinous crimes. Today’s additional payments of $372 million by this Office and the U.S. Department of Justice Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section represents the eighth in a series of distributions that will leave victims with compensation for more than 88 percent of their losses—a truly remarkable result. But our work is not fully complete, and this Office’s tireless commitment to compensating the victims who suffered as a result of Madoff’s crimes continues.”

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