Feds charge man with ripping off investors through Ponzi scheme

An Oxford man has been indicted for allegedly operating a Ponzi scheme in which he defrauded investors, with federal prosecutors seeking to keep $358,077 seized from the defendant.

Robert E. Lee Jr., 50, of Oxford was charged with five counts of wire fraud on Oct. 7. A grand jury in New Haven federal court returned the indictment. Each count of wire fraud carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.

Was a broker and financial advisor

As alleged in the indictment and other court documents, Lee was employed as a broker and financial advisor for various financial investment firms until July 2013, when he was terminated by his most recent employer, Rockwell Global Capital LLC.

From January 2011 to March 2014, Lee defrauded individuals by claiming he was investing their money in various investment vehicles when, in fact, he was maintaining custody of their funds in his personal bank account, according to prosecutors.

Lee then used the money to make distributions to other investors, and for personal expenses, prosecutors said. To conceal the scheme, Lee allegedly fabricated account statements and other documents that he delivered to his victims.

Feds want money from online account

The indictment seeks the forfeiture of $358,077 that Lee held in an online trading account at the time of his arrest, and which has been seized by the government.

Lee had been arrested on a criminal complaint on May 12. He is currently free on a $250,000 bond and is scheduled to be arraigned in Bridgeport federal court on Oct. 14.

Public can provide info to FBI

The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Michael P. Shea in Hartford. It is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys David T. Huang and Christopher M. Mattei.

Citizens with information that may be helpful to this ongoing investigation are encouraged to contact the FBI at 203-777-6311.