Ira J. Pressman, of Bala Cynwyd, pled guilty to fraud and money laundering in federal district court on Friday for his role in orchestrating a multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme that lasted about four years.
Federal prosecutors claimed that Pressman, through his newly founded company PJI Distribution Corp., solicited investors for what he promised were "no risk" opportunities that would reap returns of up to 100 percent. While some of the investment opportunities were legitimate, most were not.
Authorities alleged that Pressman would offer investors "close out deals" through either a telephone call or an email. Once an investor agreed to invest in the deal, Pressman would send a fake purchase order and sales contract to the investor. The investor would then review the documents and wire funds to PJI.
According to authorities, Pressman collected $20 million from 20 investors over the course of the investment scheme. Once Pressman was unable to make payments to the investors in December of 2010, the Ponzi scheme collapsed. Investor losses were approximately $6 million.
Pressman pled guilty to one count each of wire fraud, mail fraud, and money laundering. He faces a potential prison sentence of up to 121 months. Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 9.