DENVER — A former El Paso County deputy sheriff could face up to 20 years in prison and a massive fine after pleading guilty to being part of a Ponzi scheme.
David Hawkins, 43, pled guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering last week, officials from the FBI and IRS revealed.
According to the United States Attorney’s Office, Hawkins attended foreign currency exchange (FOREX) training courses in 2006, and educated himself concerning trading in FOREX markets.
From November 2009 to December 2011, Hawkins obtained more than $1.2 million from his colleagues at the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, other law enforcement officers and their friends and family in order to trade funds in FOREX markets on their behalf.
According to a press release from U.S. Attorney John Walsh, Hawkins secured approximately 73 investors, and most of them used their personal savings or retirement funds to pay for their investments. His investors lost a total of $215,643.
According to Jeff Dorschner, a spokesperson with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado, Hawkins would remove investor funds from FOREX accounts for his own personal expenses and investments.
“At one point, he used investor funds toward the purchase of two personal automobiles, and mid- 2011, he used in excess of $150,000 in investor funds to purchase franchises and to set up operations for two semi-professional indoor arena football teams,” Dorschner said. The football teams never became operational.
“In this case, a Deputy Sheriff took money meant for investment, and spent it on a variety of things, including personal items, giving no thought to the financial damage he is causing the colleagues, family and friends who trusted him, ” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh. “He will now face the consequences of his crimes.”
Hawkins faces one count of wire fraud which carries a penalty of not more than 20 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000. He also faces one count of money laundering which carries a penalty of not more than 10 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
Hawkins is free on bond. His sentencing is scheduled for June 7 at 11 a.m.