Office of the Attorney General
Attorney General Conway Announces Indictments of Two in International Ponzi Scheme
Attorney General Jack Conway today announced the indictment of two men in connection with an international ponzi scheme that defrauded thousands of victims. The indictment naming Swainson Hawke, also known as Ronald D. Scheetz of Macon, Georgia, and William A. Humes of Elizabethtown, Ky. was unsealed in the United States District Court in Louisville, Ky. on Friday, July 1, 2011. The case was investigated by the Attorney General's Office of Consumer Protection in cooperation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by the office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky.
According to the indictment, Hawke and Humes deceived thousands of investors by promising inflated returns on their investments. The two are accused of defrauding victims by assuring them that they were purchasing discount cards connected to the hospitality industry with promises of returns varying from 300 to 500 percent to be paid out in installments. Hawke and Humes also offered and paid significant "commissions" to participants in return for recruiting new participants into the scheme.
A "Ponzi" scheme is a fraudulent arrangement in which investors or participants are attracted by the lure of exorbitant profits. The operators of the scheme maintain and promote the bogus concept by making payments of seemingly large profits to early investors from monies obtained from later investors rather than from actual investment returns. The very nature of the scheme dictates that it must eventually fail when the schemers are no longer able to find new victims.
If convicted the Defendants could be sentenced to 40 years in prison, $500,000 fine and forfeiture of all property obtained as a result of the violations.