Officials said FBI agents with an underwater scooter in a Northern California lake under the Ponzi scheme were waiting for arrest on Monday.
Matthew Pearce, 44, has been convicted in 31 felony counts of wire fraud, mail fraud, money laundering and witness tampering, according to court documents.
FBI agents tried to arrest Piercey in Redding – about 160 miles north of Sacramento – before “he ran away with the car” and then later on Interstate 5 north, “Assistant US Attorney Christopher Hales said to Pierce. Written in a document opposing bail.
The chase led to Lake Shasta where “Pierce dumped his truck” and “took some of it out, and swam into Lake Shasta,” the prosecutor continued.
“Piercy spent some time under sight water, where law enforcement could only see bubbles. He stayed in fridge water for about 25 minutes,” Hales wrote. “Law enforcement arrested Pierce at that point, which was about an hour after his initial contact in Redding.”
Officials said the momentary underwater escape of the Piercery was made possible by a Yamaha 350LI seascutter underwater submarine device. The underwater toy sells for around $ 1,200.
Authorities said paramedics and Pierce said he was physically fine, just wet, and was allowed to change into dry clothes brought to the scene by his wife.
He was scheduled to appear before a federal judge in Sacramento on Tuesday afternoon, when the prosecution would argue that the suspect should not be allowed to bail. It was not immediately clear if Pierce was hired, or assigned to a lawyer.
Hales wrote, “Piercy’s attempt to flee arrest agents this morning is a clear demonstration of the risk of serious flight.”
Prosecutors accused Pierce of stealing millions through his investment company, Family Wealth Legacy and Zola.
From July 2015 to August 2020, 67-year-old Pearce and co-defendant Kenneth Vinton allegedly raised $ 35 million from investors and made inaccurate statements about returns.
He moved the money around and gave $ 8.8 million to investors, but most of the money went to various “business and personal expenses, including two residential properties and a houseboat,” according to the prosecution.
“, If any, liquid assets persist to repay investors,” prosecutors said.
If convicted, Piercy faces up to 20 years behind bars.