Botfly LLC's Lewalski Sentenced in Federal FOREX Ponzi Case

November 18, 2011

According to a federal criminal Complaint filed in U.S. District Court in the Middle District of Florida, David R. Lewalski, 47, formerly of Gainesville, FL, and his co-conspirators allegedly solicited money about $30 million from hundreds of investors based on false statements that Lewalski could earn the investors up to 10 percent interest per month by trading on the foreign currency (FOREX) market.

The Complaint alleged that Lewalski, who operated a company called Botfly LLC:

  • invested only a small portion of investors' funds in trading activities;
  • generated little, if any, profits trading FOREX;
  • paid "interest payments" totaling approximately $15 million to investors using other investors' money (a classic Ponzi device); and
  • spent lavishly on himself, his friends and his family - spending millions of dollars leasing high-end New York City real estate, private jets, and purchasing luxury automobiles (Porsches and a Ferrari), clothing and jewelry (including a gold and diamond Rolex watch).

On November 4, 2010, Lewalski was arrested in Manhattan, and on December 1, 2010, Lewalski was indicted on four counts of conspiracy, mail fraud, and wire fraud. If convicted, he faced a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on each of the four counts.

On July 29, 2011, Lewalksi pleaded guilty to mail fraud, for which he faced a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

On November 17, 2011, Lewalski was sentenced to 20 years in prison and ordered to forfeit $29.8 million and numerous computers and computer equipment.

SIDE BAR: The Florida Attorney General's website advises that:

On April 1, 2010, the Attorney General's Office filed an enforcement action against Botfly L.L.C. and its principals, David R. Lewalski, and Jon J. Hammill. The lawsuit alleges that Botfly L.L.C. engaged in a Ponzi scheme, and violated Florida law. Relevant pleadings can be found here, and will be updated as appropriate: Hearing Transcript - 4/07/2010

On April 1, 2010, the Circuit Court for the Sixth Judicial Circuit issued an order freezing all bank accounts and appointed a receiver to collect the remaining funds and property purchased with investor funds. The receiver is Michael Moecker & Associates and may be contacted at 954 252-1560.Please identify yourself as a Botfly investor. The receiver is represented by the law firm, Bush Ross, P.A. The receiver must file a report with the court detailing its findings. The receiver does not work for the Attorney General's Office.

For additional insight into this case, read the fascinating Affidavit of William T. "Tim" Bivens, II, a Financial Investigator with the Office of the Attorney General of Florida

Also read this earlier version of Lewalski