Plymouth Man Admits to Role in $190M Ponzi Scheme
Christopher Pettengill pleaded guilty in federal court on Tuesday to three charges related to Trevor Cook's $190 million Ponzi scheme, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Minnesota.
Pettengill, a 54-year-old man from Plymouth, pleaded guilty to one count of securities fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and one count of money laundering.
Pettengill was charged on June 13 for crimes related to a fraudulent foreign currency investment program that he sold to investors. He was charged by information, rather than by an indictment, which generally indicates that a plea agreement is expected.
He admitted in his plea agreement that from February through September of 2008, he concealed vital information from investors about a foreign currency trading program that he, Cook, and others sold, which they called the Oxford Entities Currency Program. Pettengill and the others fraudulently obtained millions of dollars in funds while assuring investors that the investments carried little to no risk, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.
When Cook was sentenced for his crimes last August, 923 victims with losses totaling $158 million had been identified.
Pettengill also admitted to making multiple wire transfers throughout the fraud scheme, including a personal credit card payment of roughly $11,369.19-which came from proceeds from the fraud.
He faces up to 10 years in prison for the money laundering charge, five years for securities fraud, and five years for conspiracy to commit wire fraud. U.S. District Court Chief Judge Michael J. Davis will determine Pettengill's sentence at a yet-to-be scheduled hearing.
Pettengill is the third person charged in connection with the Ponzi scheme. Cook, who pleaded guilty last April, was sentenced to 25 years in August for running the conspiracy, which defrauded more than 1,000 investors. In March, Jon Jason Greco was charged with two counts of making false statements to federal agents in relation to the case.