- By Mark Gokavi Staff Writer
The investors who lost the most in the William Apostelos Ponzi scheme have filed a lawsuit against those who they call “net winners” to recover some of their losses in the scam that cost hundreds of people millions of dollars.
The 19 named plaintiffs are suing 56 individual and company defendants and a potential class of 100 John or Jane Does to get back money from those who may have benefited from their investments with the Springboro man serving a 15-year federal sentence for fraud.
Apostelos’ wife, Connie, and others also were sentenced to prison.
A U.S. Bankruptcy Court case against Apostelos may be in jeopardy because the case administrator says they cannot get information they need from federal prosecutors to move forward, according to court documents.
Toby Henderson, the attorney bringing the lawsuit in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court, said the lawsuit is designed to get the “claw-back” money that the bankruptcy case was to seek.
The Ponzi scheme using several shell companies raised at least $66.7 million from 350 investors, “including business persons, professionals, retired police officers and retired factory workers,” according to the lawsuit.
“Apostelos portrayed himself as a sophisticated investor and businessman, and he exploited his network of clients, business associates, and friends to attract new investors. Many investors invested their retirement savings and lost their entire investments to the scheme.”
Henderson said the tough thing about the litigation is that early investors who told friends and family about Apostelos may now have to pay back money to later investors who lost life savings.
“Not all investors lost money,” the lawsuit said. “In furtherance of the scheme, Apostelos distributed millions of the proceeds to a select group of investors.
“That is, numerous investors in the Apostelos Ponzi-Scheme were ‘Net-Winners’ (those investors who received more money from Apostelos than they invested in principal), identified herein as the ‘Net Winner Defendants.’
“This class of investors benefited from the scheme directly out of the monies paid to Apostelos by Plaintiffs. The Net Winner Defendants reaped enormous profits.”
A handful of defendants have started to receive service of the lawsuit, according to court records.
No attorneys are named for defendants, and no court dates have been set.