Former Missouri CPA sentenced to prison for Ponzi scheme

Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — A one-time certified public accountant in south-central Missouri has been sentenced to more than 15 years in federal prison for conducting a Ponzi scheme that swindled millions of dollars from dozens of victims. 

Douglas Richardson, 47, of Lebanon, was sentenced Thursday in Springfield's federal court to 188 months and ordered to pay more than $8.8 million in restitution to his victims across the country, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Missouri said in a news release. 

There is no parole in the federal system.

A jury convicted Richardson in 2019 of six counts of wire fraud and four counts of money laundering. As a part of this scheme, Richardson knowingly fleeced several elderly victims out of most or all of their retirement savings, prosecutors said.

Richardson used the proceeds from the scheme to support a lavish lifestyle that included a $1 million home, regular family vacations to Disney World and expensive cars, motorhomes and motorcycles, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors also presented evidence at Richardson's sentencing hearing on Thursday that Richardson continued to swindle money from people even as he awaited sentencing. That included defrauding one victim of nearly $100,000 and taking $800 from a victim's bank account during his jury trial without the victim's knowledge, prosecutors said.