Ohio Man Receives 131-Month Sentence For $8.9 Million Ponzi Scheme

A Cincinnati man was sentenced to serve nearly 11 years in federal prison for his role in operating a Ponzi scheme that took in nearly $9 million from victims.  Jason Snelling, 48, received the sentence from United States District Judge Herman Weber, who also ordered Snelling to pay $5 million in restitution to his victims.  Snelling, along with co-conspirator Jerry Smith, pled guilty earlier this summer to three counts of conspiracy, obstruction, and tax evasion, and faced up to forty-five years in prison.

Snelling and Smith operated Dunhill Investment Advisers and CityFund Advisory in downtown Cincinnati, where they guaranteed high rates of returns to clients under the guise that the firms were successfully engaging in day-trading.  The two offered guaranteed rates of return ranging from ten to fifteen percent, with some investors receiving higher promised rates.  In an effort to convince investors of the safety of the operation, Snelling and Smith represented that their position would be liquidated to cash at the end of each trading day.  In total, the scheme raised nearly $9 million from seventy-two investors.  But instead of engaging in day-trading, Snelling and Smith spent the majority of investor funds to sustain an exorbitant lifestyle that consisted of boats, jet skis, plastic surgery, and private school tuition. 

Snelling was also ordered to pay nearly $600,000 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service.