An Idaho man entered a guilty plea in connection with accusations that he orchestrated a $2 million Ponzi scheme. Dale Edward Lowell, 59, pled guilty to two counts of wire fraud in exchange for the dismissal of the remaining eleven counts of wire fraud contained in his indictment. Wire fraud carries a maximum prison sentence of twenty years, a fine of up to $250,000, and the possibility of restitution to victims. In exchange for the guilty plea, the Department of Justice is recommending that Lowell be sentenced at the lower range of federal sentencing guidelines, although the court is not bound by the recommendation in fashioning a sentence.
In an indictment filed earlier this year, authorities alleged that Dale's Investment Club, founded by Lowell in 2005, was nothing more than an elaborate Ponzi scheme that took in a total of $2.2 million from more than 22 investor "units." These units often included multiple members of a single family. Lowell advertised potential returns ranging from thirty to forty percent resulting from the trading of stock options. Lowell also guaranteed investments with certificates of deposit, which authorities alleged were never purchased. Lowell returned or repaid approximately $530,000 to investors before the scheme unraveled.
Lowell is scheduled to be sentenced on October 31. He has already been sued by the Idaho Department of Finance in 2009, and was ordered to pay $2,038,376 in restitution to defrauded investors.