Businessman accused of stealing millions in Ponzi scheme

A businessman is accused of running a Ponzi scheme that took more than $3.6 million from people in Central Florida, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies arrested Justin Troy Spearman, 29, on numerous fraud-related charges Saturday.

Spearman, formerly of Winter Park, persuaded people in Orange, Seminole and Volusia counties to let him invest their money in 2013 and 2014, according to the probable-cause affidavit.

He told them the money was going into gas and oil businesses in Texas, and provided fake documents to persuade them.

The investors, many of whom knew one another, gave Spearman more than $3.6 million, according to the affidavit. He would pay old investors with money taken from the new investors.

Spearman was a big spender, using the money on luxury cars, private airplanes and extravagant gifts, according to court records.

Public records show he also had a Palm Beach condo worth nearly $800,000 in 2015.

Some of the investors confronted Spearman in 2014 when they weren’t getting the returns they were promised. He confessed on-camera to the scheme and admitted himself for psychiatric evaluation at a hospital, according to court documents.

Orange County Circuit Court records show that Gloria Cockman, one of the investors, sued Spearman in 2014.

He pleaded the Fifth Amendment during the case, and she was awarded a settlement.

Spearman was sentenced to 27 months in prison in July 2016 for another Ponzi scheme in Texas.

The investigation of Spearman was conducted jointly by the Winter Park Police Department and the Florida Office of Financial Regulation, according to the affidavit.

Spearman’s charges include grand theft, securities fraud and sale of unregistered securities, according to the arrest affidavit.

He was booked into the Orange County Jail with bond set at $2.1 million, the affidavit shows.

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/breaking-news/os-justin-spearman-arrested-ponzi-scheme-20170719-story.html