A Rhode Island man who once offered investors 450% returns in 40 days was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges he ran a decade-long Ponzi scheme that raised more than $14 million from investors. Thomas Huling, 55, of West Warwick, Rhode Island, was arrested on twenty-one counts of wire fraud, money laundering, and tax evasion. Each of the wire fraud charges carries a maximum twenty-year prison term, while each money laundering and tax evasion charge carries a ten-year and five-year maximum term, respectively.
According to authorities, Huling - a former mortgage broker - began promoting several purported investment projects to potential investors as early as 2008 including offshore high-yielding bond trading platforms, a car emissions reduction technology, and an online advertising and marketing company. Investors were lured with promises of substantial returns with little to no risk, including the allure of up to 450% returns within 40 days - an annualized return of over 3,000%. As unfortunately seen in an increasing number of fraudulent schemes, authorities also claim that Huling incorporated various religious aspects and themes to both enhance his credibility and build rapport with investors.
Over the course of the ten-year period from 2008 to 2018, Huling allegedly opened more than 50 bank accounts at nine different banks using entity names such as HTH Enterprises LLC; Global Funding Group LLC; Global Investment Company S.A. LLC; 46 Well Realty LLC; Global Technology LLC; World Holding Group LLC; and WebDreams LLC. In total, Huling raised more than $14 million from investors.
But prosecutors allege that Huling’s promises, including massive returns with little to no risk, were the result of a Ponzi scheme rather than legitimate business activity. Huling allegedly failed to pay taxes from 2009 to 2018 while using millions of dollars in misappropriated investor funds to sustain a lavish lifestyle that included a $15,000 2012 Can-Am Spyder motorcycle, a $34,000 2013 Mercedes Benz, and expenditures at the Foxwoods Resort Casino. Proscutors allege that Huling used investor funds to pay returns to existing investors - a classic hallmark of a Ponzi scheme. Of the $14 million he raised from investors, Huling is accused of causing losses of at least $6 million.
Huling pleaded not guilty to the charges and was released on a $50,000 bond. He was also ordered not to have any contact with any investors and to refrain from gambling.
A copy of the indictment is below: