MIAMI, Fla. – A Florida woman has been sentenced for running a Ponzi scheme that defrauded hundreds of people, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida (USAO) has announced.
Former Miami-Dade County resident Judith Dianne Paris-Pinder, 49, has been sentenced to 48 months in prison for defrauding more than 500 people out of $2.4 million through a Ponzi investment fraud scheme, the USAO said.
A Ponzi scheme is a form of fraud where belief is created in a nonexistent venture by paying strong returns to initial investors using money paid in by later investors.
According to facts admitted during her guilty plea, Paris-Pinder was president of Pinder Associates Inc. and from November 2019 to August 2021, she obtained money from investors by lying to them. She told them she worked with or for lawyers who represented litigation plaintiffs. She told investors these plaintiffs had settled claims and were awaiting payouts from insurance companies.
“Paris-Pinder told investors she was looking for “hard money lenders” to finance payments to the attorneys’ clients. Investor funds would be used to loan plaintiffs a portion of their settlement amounts, and in exchange, the plaintiffs would provide their full settlement money to Paris-Pinder,” the USAO said in its statement.
Then, once the settlement checks were received from the insurance companies, Paris-Pinder supposedly would distribute to investors their initial contributions plus any returns–which could be as high as 50 percent, the USAO said.
According to her plea, the entire investment was a scam. Paris-Pinder did not work for or with lawyers with litigation clients, and there were no settlement agreements. It is alleged that Paris-Pinder kept the Ponzi scheme going by using money from new investors to pay existing investors and that she raised approximately $4.6 million, causing $2.4 million in investor losses.
In addition to prison time, Paris-Pinder will have three years of supervised release, 200 hours of community service, and must pay $2.4 million in restitution.
U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida Markenzy Lapointe; acting Special Agent in Charge Chad Yarbrough, FBI, Miami Field Office; and Florida Office of Financial Regulation (OFR) Commissioner Russell C. Weigel III made the announcement.
FBI, Miami Field Office, and OFR investigated this case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric E. Morales prosecuted it.
Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov under case number 22-CR-20452.