$500k local Ponzi scheme

$500k Ponzi scheme alleged in

arrest of local financial advisor

 

By Gary Bégin

EAST WENATCHEE — 51-year-old East Wenatchee resident Greg Lone was arrested three weeks ago and charged with five counts of theft after he purportedly scammed seven local clients of nearly $500,000.

Lone’s seven defrauded clients were in their eighties or nineties, according to investigators, and resided in Wenatchee, East Wenatchee and Cashmere.

The financial advisor was charged with first-degree theft after an investigation by Douglas County sheriff’s deputies and the state Department of Financial Institutions.

The alleged crimes took place between 2016-2019 with regulatory and law enforcement officials calling it a Ponzi scheme, wherein one investment is then used to pay promised dividends on another while the money itself is never actually invested anywhere.

Lone’s firm, Paramount Financial Advisors, 616 Suite B, Valley Mall Parkway here, has been closed and no statements have been issued by Lone after emailed requests by NCW Media regarding the alleged crimes.

He allegedly advised clients to withdraw funds from their current investments and place them with Paramount-managed funds. The monies were then used to pay his personal and business expenses, according to the complaint.

Lone was administratively barred in August from acting as a securities broker in Washington. The case was then referred to Douglas County authorities, where he made his first appearance in Superior Court in November. He is currently free on $5,000 bond .

Paramount’s website states: “Greg has 24 years of experience in the financial and insurance industries. After studying finance and business management, he began working for an investment advisory firm. Three years into his career, he started his own practice, specializing in international portfolio management. He is currently the founder of Paramount Financial Advisors, LLC, a firm that brings almost a quarter-century of financial planning and insurance experience to its clients. Greg’s mission is to use his experience to help individuals and families achieve their financial goals. Whether those goals are retirement, funding your child’s college education, or insurance, he stands ready to help make your financial future a success.”

Lone’s son Connor, also works at the firm with the website stating: “Upon receiving an honorable discharge from the Army, Connor moved back to Washington and, after receiving his life insurance license, he joined Paramount Financial Advisors (in Wenatchee).

The son and another employee, Todd Hansen, were not charged.

Another Cashmere financial consultant, who spoke off the record, stated he was almost bilked for thousands by Lone, but when confronted, Lone returned the money that was invested.

Lone’s arraignment was Monday, Dec. 21. He plead not guilty to 5 counts of 1st degree Theft with aggravating circumstances; 2 counts are “economic inconvenience” and 3 counts of “violating a position of trust.” Trial has been set for Monday, Jan 25th.

Among his alleged victims were an elderly couple and a blind disabled veteran.

In a Ponzi scheme, investors are duped by being promised high returns with little or no risk on their investments. The scammers then rely on cash flow from recent investors to provide returns to older investors.

Keep reading the Wenatchee Business Journal for future developments in the case.

 

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