An attorney from Luzerne County is now indicted on charges he ran a Ponzi scheme that swindled hundreds of thousands of dollars from a client.
It was a scheme that allegedly made him lots of money but now has him facing possible hefty fines and prison time.
Imagine you give your attorney lots of money because he said he can put it into a trust fund where it will make even more money. Then you find out the money is all gone.
That’s what a federal indictment issued Tuesday said about the money attorney Anthony Lupas allegedly stole from a client who trusted him.
According to the indictment, the amount of money allegedly scammed from just one person is close to $250,000.
Attorneys representing potential victims of Lupas said the amount of money he stole could reach into the millions.
If the charges against Anthony Lupas are true, he could be Luzerne County’s version of Bernie Madoff.
In the grand jury’s account, Lupas allegedly duped just one investor out of a quarter million dollars.
According to the grand jury indictment, that client invested a total of $246,000 and Lupas promised the client a seven percent tax-free account.
“The material representations were knowingly and intentionally false and fraudulent to the extent that Lupas did not hold any of the client’s money in an interest-bearing tax-free account,” the indictment stated.
“Defendant Anthony Lupas knowingly and intentionally converted the client’s money to his personal use,” according to the indictment.
Attorneys representing dozens of potential victims tell Newswatch 16 the alleged Ponzi scheme went on for many years as clients continued to dump millions of dollars of life savings into Lupas’ promised trust funds.
A month ago, federal agents raided Lupas’ home in Plains Township and his office in Wilkes-Barre.
The grand jury charged Lupas with five counts of mail fraud, one for each payment of around $1,300 to one client from the “trust account” that allegedly never existed.
While all this was going on Tuesday there is still a pending civil suit against Anthony Lupas.
Attorney Ernie Preate, who represents about a dozen former clients of Lupas, said Tuesday he expected today’s indictment, and that it will give federal investigators more time to look into the claims Lupas stole millions of dollars from dozens of clients.