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Ponzi Scheme Suspect Flees FBI Using Handheld Sea Scooter, Fails Miserably

Illustration for article titled Ponzi Scheme Suspect Flees FBI Using Handheld Sea Scooter, Fails Miserably

Picture: U.S. Division of Justice

Federal brokers arrested Matthew Piercey close to Redding, California, on Monday over an alleged $35 million Ponzi scheme, however Piercey didn’t give up quietly. The suspect reportedly fled FBI brokers in a truck earlier than leaping out, getting one thing out of his car, and hiding within the freezing water of Lake Shasta for 25 minutes. How did he evade the feds for thus lengthy? Piercey used a handheld “sea scooter,” in keeping with the U.S. Department of Justice.

Particulars of the chase, first reported by the Sacramento Bee, are nonetheless sketchy, and it’s not clear if Piercey was in a position to disguise for thus lengthy as a result of he was underwater for all the 25 minutes or if he was puttering round on the lake at floor stage more often than not. It’s additionally unclear if he had a respiratory equipment.

The ocean scooter was recognized in courtroom paperwork as a Yamaha 350LI underwater submersible gadget. Movies on YouTube present the ocean scooter in motion, displaying its potential to drag folks at a velocity of roughly four miles per hour.

The 44-year-old Piercey, from Palo Cedro, California, allegedly raised $35 million for funding funds that federal prosecutors say didn’t exist. He’s being charged with witness tampering, wire fraud, mail fraud, and concealment of cash laundering.

From the U.S. authorities’s assertion about whether or not he’s a flight danger:

When FBI brokers tried to arrest Piercey in Redding this morning, he fled by automotive. First, he led regulation enforcement on a car chase that went off-road twice in residential neighborhoods together with subsequent to an condo complicated, after which later onto Interstate 5 northbound. Regulation enforcement tracked Piercey’s car from the air throughout the chase. Then, Piercey deserted his truck close to the sting of Lake Shasta, pulled one thing out of it, and swam into Lake Shasta. Piercey spent a while out of sight underwater the place regulation enforcement may solely see bubbles. He remained within the frigid water for about 25 minutes. When Piercey lastly emerged from the lake, regulation enforcement found that he had a Yamaha 350LI underwater submersible gadget:

Regulation enforcement arrested Piercey at that time, roughly an hour after their preliminary contact in Redding. Regulation enforcement organized for an ambulance in order that medical personnel may consider him after his time within the lake. Each medical personnel and Piercey himself knowledgeable regulation enforcement that he was wonderful. Regulation enforcement additionally obtained dry garments from Piercey’s spouse, and took these garments to Piercey earlier than departing with him for Sacramento. We proceed to study the main points of Piercey’s actions whereas fleeing from regulation enforcement this morning, and we could also be ready to proffer extra particulars on the listening to.

Piercey faces a wonderful of as much as $250,000 or twice his income from the scheme, relying on which is larger. If he actually raked in $35 million, we think about will probably be the latter.

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Matt Novak