OMAHA WOMAN PLEADS GUILTY TO $3M PONZI SCHEME

OMAHA, Neb. — An Omaha financial advisor, whose clients once included pro football quarterack Michael Vick defrauded investors of more than $3 million over a four-year period, according to the U.S. Attorney for Nebraska.

Mary Wong, 46, pleaded guilty to Securities Fraud in U.S. District Court.

According to a U.S. Attorney’s news release, Wong acted as a financial advisor and solicited millions of dollars under false pretenses. Then she failed to invest the money as promised, instead spending the money on her “lavish lifestyle”, and businesses under Wong’s control.

Wong spent money to charter private aircraft, purchase expensive homes, and pay-off expensive personal and business-related credit card debt. Victims lost $3,035,000 between the years 2005, and 2009.

According to a 2008 ESPN.com report, Wong advised pro football quarterback Michael Vick in the wake of his dogfighting case and bankruptcy.

The report by ESPN.com’s Lester Munson said Wong wrongfully removed at least $900,000 from accounts belonging to Vick, and Wong caused certain business entities owned by Vick to be transferred to her.

Wong was previously barred from contact with the New York Stock Exchange for taking $150,000 from two elderly widows.

The U.S. Attorney called it a “Ponzi-like” scheme. The fraud takes money from new investors to pay-off previous investors, creating an illusion of profit-making.

Wong told her investors their money was in Gallup bonds, and real estate, including a shopping mall in Arizona. The U.S. Attorney says most of those investments did not exist.

Wong will be sentenced in December, and could receive 20-years in prison, and a fine of up to $1 million.