Guilty Plea in NASCAR Merchandise Ponzi Scheme

A California man pled guilty to operating a Ponzi scheme that scammed investors who thought they were financing the retail dsitribution of NASCAR merchandise.  Eliott Jay Dresher, 64, of Chatsworth, California, entered a plea of guilty to a single count of mail fraud before United States District Judge Philip S. Gutierrez. The victims, most of whom were friends and family members, invested more than $13.5 million with Dresher before the scheme was uncovered.

From 1998 to October 2009, Dresher solicited potential investors with the prospect of substantial monthly returns, often ranging from twenty to twenty-five percent every six months, in return for investing in a business that purchased NASCAR merchandise at wholesale prices and resold to big box retailers such as Costco and Ross.  Yet, instead of operating the business, Dresher misappropriated investor funds for personal use and to fund investor interest payments and principal redemptions.  The scheme was uncovered when Dresher was unable to meet investor redemption requests in late-2009.

Dresher had been scheduled to stand trial on January 26, 2012.  He faces up to twenty years in prison for his guilty plea, although federal sentencing guidelines will likely recommend a lower sentence.  He is scheduled to be sentenced December 19, 2011.