HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A man accused of operating a Ponzi scheme that netted an estimated $3 million pleaded guilty to mail fraud and wire fraud at US District Court in Honolulu Tuesday.
Perry Griggs, 49, faces up to 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 after he pleaded guilty to two of the 13 counts against him under an agreement with federal prosecutors. He's scheduled to be sentenced July 18th.
"Mr. Griggs decided that he wanted to do what was right and what was proper in the matter, and to save the expense and time of a contested trial, and changed his plea and accepted responsibility for his actions," John Schum, defense attorney, said.
FBI agents say Griggs was serving time in a mainland prison for a similar crime, when he managed to convince his fellow inmates and their families to invest money in a non-existent company called "Aloha Trading." The victims reportedly took out mortgage loans, or liquidated their retirement and personal savings to invest.
"The important thing that we want to get across to the people of Hawaii is that there's no such thing as high returns and low risk when they're looking at investments," Tom Simon, FBI special agent, said. "We want people to take the time to ask the correct questions before they make an investment with their life savings."
Griggs' wife, Rachel, was also allegedly involved in the scam and is a co-defendant in the case. She is expected to plead guilty as early as next week.