A Pittsburgh man entered a guilty plea to charges he ran a Ponzi scheme that cost victims nearly $500,000. Daniel M. Bull, 28, of Beaver, Pennsylvania, pled guilty to a single count of mail fraud before United States District Judge David S. Cercone.
As previously covered by Ponzitracker, Bull operated Venture Advisors, a company that purported to assist companies backed by venture-capitalists save on insurance and retirement plans. According to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority ("FINRA"), Bull worked at three Pittsburgh-area securities firms where he solicited nearly $1 million from 13 investors. These firms were Pruco Securities (3/2008 - 4/2010), New England Securities (4/2010 - 5/2010), and Bill Few Securities, Inc. (10/2010 - 02/2011). Additionally, Bull's FINRA BrokerCheck report also indicates that he was employed at Prudential Life Insurance Company in Pittsburgh from February 2008 to March 2010.
Rather than safeguard investor funds or purchase securities, Bull diverted money to Venture Advisors. While some of the money was paid to investors in the form of interest payments, investors suffered a total net loss of $481,000.
Sentencing has been scheduled for December 1, 2011, at 11:30 a.m. Mail fraud carries a maximum prison sentence of twenty years, along with a fine up to $250,000 and the ability to order restitution to defrauded investors. Bull remains free on bond until sentencing.