A federal grand jury indicted a California man on charges that he ran an alleged ponzi scheme that involved $39 million and had over 100 victims. At the center of the fraud were promises to victims that they were investing in a ticket resale operation that involved tickets and luxury suites for NBA games at multiple venues in the state, according to the charges announced by United States Attorney Ismail J. Ramsey.
According to the indictment, between late 2013 and 2020, Derek Vincent Chu, 41, of Alamo, used several companies to raise $39 million by fraudulently soliciting investments in the purchase and resale of professional basketball tickets and luxury suites at Oracle Arena, in Oakland, California; the Staples Center, in Los Angeles, California; and the Chase Center, in San Francisco, California. The indictment further alleges that Chu induced investors by making numerous materially false misrepresentations, including how the investor funds would be used, how investors would be repaid, and whether the investments were secured by collateral.
According to the allegations in the indictment, Chu commingled the investors’ money between his own personal accounts and his companies’ accounts, which resulted in investor money being used to repay other, earlier investors, and for other unrelated expenses. Furthermore, the indictment alleges that Chu misappropriated and diverted more than $7.3 million of investor funds for his own personal benefit, which included paying credit card debts; making cash withdrawals; paying for travel, luxury automobile and jewelry purchases; and paying utilities bills, among other things.
The indictment charges Chu with eight counts of wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1343 and 2, and three counts of money laundering, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1957 and 2.
Each wire fraud count has a maximum statutory sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine in the amount of $250,000. Each money-laundering count has a maximum statutory sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine in the amount of $250,000.
Chu was arrested this week and made an initial appearance before the Hon. Laurel Beeler, U.S. Magistrate Judge for the Northern District of California. Chu’s next appearance is scheduled before Judge Beeler on Wednesday, May 10, 2023, for appearance of counsel.
The Special Prosecutions Section of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California is prosecuting the case. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the San Francisco Police Department.
Last Updated on May 4, 2023 by Dave Clark
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