Friday, April 2, 2010

Dickson woman charged in ex-boss' scam

Donna Jones, a 37-year-old former secretary from Dickson, was charged with conspiracy, bank fraud and money laundering on Thursday in a Ponzi scheme tied to her former employer, Michael J. Park of Brentwood.
Park pleaded guilty more than a year ago to defrauding some 28 people of more than $9 million. Assistant U.S. attorney John Webb said Park's sentencing had been delayed for more than a year so prosecutors could pursue the case against his secretary, Donna Jones, as well.

The latest indictment says Jones "willingly and knowingly" created false documents and controlled bank accounts with investor money that was never invested. She also recruited victims and diverted investors' money into her and Park's bank accounts, federal authorities said.

In a Ponzi scheme, new investors' money typically is used to pay earlier investors' their returns, and to line the pockets of perpetrators.

Related02/28/09: Brentwood broker pleads guilty in $9 million fraud

The money is never really invested in stocks or other vehicles, and when too many investors cash out at once, there's not enough money to pay everyone.

That's when the structure generally collapses.

Jones could not be reached for comment Thursday, and her attorney, Tim Potter of Dickson, said he wasn't prepared to discuss the details but that she pleaded not guilty and was released without bond.

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