JOHN STEVEN BLOUNT OF LAKE CHARLES SENTENCED
TO 19.5 YEARS IN FEDERAL PRISON FOR $5.8 MILLION PONZI SCHEME

John Steven Blount of Lake Charles was sentenced on October 22, 2015 by U.S. District Court Judge Patricia Minaldi to 235 months in federal prison in relation to a $5.8 million Ponzi scheme.  Base on a joint investigation conducted by the Securities Division of the Office of Financial Institutions, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Internal Revenue Service, Blount pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud on July 16, 2015.  According to his guilty plea, Blount admitted to defrauding investors out of more than $5.8 million through investments in fictitious companies, bonds, and IRAs promising high rates of return.  However, instead of investing the money he received, Blount transferred the funds to his own bank accounts for personal use and to support his own business interests.  In order to avoid detection, Blount e-mailed investors false account statements and provided investors with returns of funds purported to be interest payments.  In fact, these payments came from funds Blount obtained from other victims of the Ponzi scheme.  Over the course of the scheme, Blount paid out approximately $1.7 million in these "lulling" payments to investors.  Blount was also sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $4.3 million in restitution.