Philadelphia Ex-Lawyer Faces Federal Charges Relating to Ponzi Scheme

Federal prosecutors have unveiled charges against a Philadelphia man alleging that he ran a Ponzi Scheme that defrauded investors out of more than $6 million.  Ira Pressman, 64, is already facing charges of theft and corrupt organizations filed by the state of Pennsylvania in March.  While the state charges allege a total loss of $3 million from 8 victims, the federal charges allege that a total of $6 million was lost from 20 investors.

Authorities allege that Pressman operated his scheme through his company PJI Distribution Corporation in Bryn Mawr.  Similar to the much larger scheme run by Thomas Petters, Pressman represented to investors that he was buying closeout merchandise and reselling that inventory to buyers.  Pressman even forged invoices and purchase orders to create the appearance that he was engaged in legitimate business dealings.  Yet, rather than purchase these goods, Pressman instead kept the money, and used money from new investors to pay off older investors.  

Pressman has been charged with one count of wire fraud, mail fraud, and money laundering.  A former lawyer, he was convicted of several fraud-related offenses in the early-1990s and eventually disbarred as a result.