Ponzi swindler who sacked John Elway gets 40 years

By Keith Coffman

DENVER (BestGrowthStock) – A Colorado hedge-fund manager who admitted bilking $71 million from investors, including NFL Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway, as part of a Ponzi scheme was sentenced on Monday to 40 years in prison.

Denver District Court Judge Martin Egelhoff imposed the maximum sentence on Sean Mueller, 42, who pleaded guilty last month to securities fraud, theft and violating Colorado’s Organized Crime Control Act. He had threatened to leap to his death from a tall building as he was arrested in April.

Prosecutors accused Mueller of using new investors’ money to pay existing investors, and creating bogus monthly reports and brokerage statements to cover his tracks over a 10-year span.

Colorado Securities Commissioner Fred Joseph told Reuters that Mueller promised investors “unrealistic” profits on their investments. Instead, Mueller was using their investments to fund a luxurious lifestyle of multimillion-dollar homes, high-end automobiles, and memberships to exclusive country clubs, where he met many of his victims, Joseph said.

Mueller apologized to his victims, family and friends at the sentencing, according to a statement released by the Denver District Attorney’s Office, which prosecuted Mueller.

When regulators froze Mueller Capital Management’s account, they found $9.5 million in assets and $45 million in liabilities. Joseph said the business is in receivership as regulators attempt to untangle its finances.

Joseph said regulators were led to Mueller in March after an anonymous person tipped them to the scheme. Mueller was arrested in April after texting some investors to say he was committing suicide because authorities were closing in on him. Police apprehended him atop a parking garage structure in suburban Denver where he was threatening to jump.

“The investigation ramped up when he (Mueller) threatened suicide, and we had to move quickly to seize the assets,” Joseph said.

In all, 65 investors were swindled, including Elway, who quarterbacked the Denver Broncos to two Super Bowl championships in the 1990s. Elway, who did not attend the hearing, lost $15 million in the scam.

His name surfaced in the connection with the case because the former NFL star had filed a request in court to be first in line to for any restitution stemming from the probe.

(Editing by Steve Gorman and Greg McCune)

Ponzi swindler who sacked John Elway gets 40 years