A Pennsylvania man has entered a guilty plea in connection a a Ponzi scheme that ultimately bilked investors out of $6 million. Ira J. Pressman, 64, plea guilty to wire fraud, mail fraud, and money laundering in federal court on Friday. As earlier covered by Ponzitracker, Pressman had been indicted in June following charges filed by the state of Pennsylvania. Under federal sentencing guidelines, Pressman faces a sentencing range of 97 to 121 months in federal prison.
Pressman founded PJI Distribution Corp., which held itself out to investors as a successful business engaged in purchasing and reselling closeout and overstock merchandise. Investors were solicited to invest in no-risk merchandise deals that promised astronomical returns of up to 100%. In total, Pressman collected over $20 million from 20 investors. However, Pressman in fact engaged in little legitimate business, instead using new investor funds to pay returns to older investors, a classic hallmark of a Ponzi scheme. Prosecutors estimated the total loss to investors at roughly $6 million.
A conviction for all three counts would have carried a maximum prison sentence of 50 years. Pressman is scheduled to be sentenced November 9.