Moreno Valley Man Pleads Guilty to Running Ponzi Scheme That Took in More Than $24 Million from Hundreds of Victim Investors | DOJ Press Release

A Riverside County man has pleaded guilty to a federal criminal charge for running a Ponzi scheme that lasted nearly 20 years and fraudulently obtained more than $24 million from at least 200 investors, the Justice Department announced today.

Paul Horton Smith Sr., 59, of Moreno Valley, pleaded guilty late Monday afternoon to one count of wire fraud.

According to his plea agreement, Smith operated Riverside-based companies named Northstar Communications LLC, Planning Services Inc., and eGate LLC. From July 2000 to May 2020, Smith obtained money from investors by soliciting individuals – who often were elderly or retired – to invest in something Smith called “Northstar.” Some of the investors previously were Planning Services clients.

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While Smith led most Northstar investors to believe his company reinvested their initial investment, generating the percentage they were to earn, in fact, he never invested the money. Instead, Smith deposited all investor funds into a non-interest-bearing checking account.

Source: Moreno Valley Man Pleads Guilty to Running Ponzi Scheme That Took in More Than $24 Million from Hundreds of Victim Investors | DOJ Press Release