A former sheriff's deputy will spend the next thirty months in federal prison for orchestrating a Ponzi scheme that raised more than $1.2 million from victims that included fellow law enforcement personnel. David N. Hawkins, 46, received the sentence from U.S District Judge Robert E. Blackburn, who also ordered Hawkins to serve three years of supervised release following completion of the sentence. Hawkins pleaded guilty last year to one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering.
Hawkins was hired by the El Paso Sheriff's Office in 2001, and soon thereafter was sworn in as a sheriff's deputy. In or around 2006, Hawkins began attending training courses on how to trade foreign currencies ("forex"). Beginning in 2009, Hawkins used this knowledge to hold himself out as a sophisticated currency trader, telling colleagues, family, and friends that he had several years of experience in achieving consistent gains - sometimes as high as 62% - from forex trading. Unbeknownst to his employer, Hawkins told potential investors that an investment in his PD Hawk Investment Fund would yield consistent 10% monthly returns - an annual return of over 100%. Based on these representations, Hawkins raised more than $1 million from over 70 investors.
However, according to the FBI, "at no time were [Hawkins'] investments ever profitable." Instead, Hawkins ran the classic Ponzi scheme, using investor funds to repay earlier investors and to make purported interest payments. Hawkins used investor funds as his personal piggy bank, purchasing multiple automobiles, paying personal expenses, and even buying two semi-professional indoor football franchises in Illinois and Texas. These teams never became operational, and authorities began investigating after Hawkins abruptly cancelled the 2012 season. Authorities estimate that total losses to investors exceeded $200,000.
Hawkins was also ordered to pay restitution of $204,348.91 to the remaining victims.