On July 31, 2019 Investment Adviser Dawn Bennett was sentenced to 20 years in jail. Bennett defrauded no less than 46 Investors in a $20 million Ponzi scheme. Reportage is from the U.S. Attorney’s office (District of Maryland).
Bennett was handed the maximum sentence in addition to five years of supervised probation upon her release.
Bennett advertised her purported genius through use of a paid radio show: “Financial Myth Busting.” She was convicted last October of conspiracy and fraud—17 counts in all.
At trial, among other evidence, was that between December 2014 and April 2017, Bennett solicited individuals to invest money in her Internet clothing business (DJB Holdings), offering 15% per year as a return through sale of promissory notes.
Bennett made false statements to lure unsuspecting investors such as that the loans were guaranteed by DJB Holdings’ inventory and assets, and by Bennett personally.
U.S. District Judge Paula Xinis on Wednesday also ordered Bennett to pay $14.5 million in restitution to the victims.
Bennett, 56, worked for 28 years as a broker and registered investment adviser. In 2009, Bennett was listed as a Top 100 Women Financial Advisor.
Between December 2014 and April 2017, much of the money gathered from investors was spent on a $500,000 suite to watch Dallas Cowboys games, $800,000 to hire priests in India to perform rituals aimed at dissuading SEC and FBI investigators, not to mention purchase of a collection of astrological gems. Bennett commissioned “Hoodoo” spells to save her.
U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur stated: “Dawn Bennett knowingly defrauded retirees of their life’s savings, most of which she used for her own personal benefit…” “She’s been held accountable for her lies and theft.”
Bennett, began her investment career in 1987 at Wheat, First Securities Inc.. Bennett then moved in 1996 to Legg Mason Wood Walker Inc. then had a brief stint at Smith Barney. In 2006, Bennett became an independent broker with Royal Alliance Associates.
Bennett was an independent broker with Western International Securities when she hatched her plan to rip off investors.
At sentencing, Bennett took a vow of financial restitution and stated that she would repay “every penny” pilfered from investors.
“I am so profoundly humiliated that it will be difficult to ever shake it off,” she said.
FINRA BrokerCheck on Bennett includes 44 disclosures of customer, criminal and civil complaints. Thirteen customer complaints are pending.
The SEC, which barred her for inflating the assets she managed and the returns she produced, also fined her $4.1 million in July 2016.
Anthony M. Abraham, Esq., PC, has represented many investors who have claimed against dishonest brokersorsBankrupt and other estates for return of assets taken through fraud. Anthony M. Abraham, Esq., PC is experienced in churning and unauthorized trading claims. If you were victimized in this Ponzi scheme and need help, please call us Toll Free at 1-877-430-4877 for a Free Consultation or email us at Anthony@AbrahamAttorneys.com.