Peter Heckmann had been on the run since allegedly stealing $1 million from Kauai residents through a Ponzi scheme, but today, Heckmann pleaded guilty to Wire Fraud and could spend up to 20 years in prison and pay a fine of $250,000.
According to FBI Special Agent Tom Simon, “Heckmann acknowledged in court that the victim losses in this case exceeded $1 million and that his scheme involved paying older investors with money from new investors in a scheme to defraud the victims.”
Heckmann, 53, was indicted by federal grand jury in Honolulu in 2007 on seven counts of wire fraud. The indictment alleged Heckmann operated a Ponzi scheme, convincing Kauai residents to invest $1.2 million in his failing recording studio in exchange for returns of between 10-to-15 percent within two weeks.
Heckmann, who worked as a record producer and a recording engineer, claiming his business, “Raining Heart Records”, is a “World Music record label,” learned of the federal charges pending against him just before being indicted in 2007 and fled the state.
In January, the FBI intensified its efforts to locate Heckmann, offering a $10,000 reward for information that led to his capture and arrest. The FBI included an Internet “Wanted” poster featuring Heckmann, and asked its 500,000 Twitter followers here (https://twitter.com/FBIMostWanted) and 300,000 Facebook page users worldwide here (https://www.facebook.com/FBI), to help them locate him.
He was captured in March.
Heckmann remains custody of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons at the Honolulu Federal Detention Center until he is sentenced on July 25, 2013, at 2:15 p.m.
“We hope that today’s guilty plea will serve as one more step towards closure for the victims in this case,” Simon said.
“This case should serve as a reminder to the people of Hawaii to investigate before you invest.”
The moral of the story is: in a Ponzi scheme, be one of the first and you have a better chance of getting your money back with interest!
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