Monday, FBI agents waited onshore to make an arrest while a fleeing Ponzi scheme suspect dove into a frigid Northern California lake with an underwater scooter.
44-year-old Matthew Piercey has been indicted on 31 felony counts of wire fraud, mail fraud, money laundering, and witness tampering, according to court documents.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Hales wrote in a document opposing bail for Piercey that FBI agents tried to arrest Piercey before “he fled by car.”
The chase led to Lake Shasta where “Piercey abandoned his truck” and “pulled something out of it, and swam into Lake Shasta,” the prosecutor continued.
After remaining in the water for about 25 minutes, law enforcement was able to arrest Piercey.
Prosecutors accused Piercey of stealing millions through his investment company, Family Wealth Legacy and Zolla.
From about July 2015 through August 2020, Piercey and co-defendant Kenneth Winton, 67, allegedly raised $35 million from investors and falsified statements about returns.
They moved money around and dispersed $8.8 million to investors, but most funds went to “various business and personal expenses, including two residential properties and a houseboat,” according to prosecutors.
“Few, if any, liquid assets remain to repay investors,” prosecutors said.