Friday, June 5, 2015


Laughing all the way to the bank
Michael McNerney, the senior equity partner, and co-founder of a downtown Fort Lauderdale law firm, was released from Federal Prison last month, without any publicity or fanfare. McNerney, who as lead attorney for Mutual Benefits Corp. (MBC), the life settlement company that was a billion-dollar Ponzi scheme, kept regulators investigating his client, and unhappy investors, at bay for years, while millions of dollars in illicit profits were drained out of the firm, entered into a plea agreement, and served only a five-year prison term.

In the Statement of Facts, the defendant stipulated that:

(1) He concealed the fact that the true ownership of MBC, and its related entities, was an individual convicted of multiple felonies.

(2) He concealed the true ownership & management structure during on-site visits of state and Federal regulators.

(3) He gave false assurances to investors, directly as well as indirectly.

(4) He failed to disclose to investors that MBC was fraudulently misrepresenting the life expectancies.

(5) He concealed the details of the arrest of the doctor who estimated the life expectancies of the insureds.

(6) He knew about the Ponzi scheme of premium funds.

(7) He allowed MBC to acquire problematic policies with undisclosed risks.

(8) He knew that MBC resold failed policies to new investors.

(9) He gave MBC plausible legal cover for its fraud.

Without McNerney's assistance, MBC would never been able to evade the long arms of regulatory agencies, and law enforcement, for the decade that it was engaged in its Ponzi scheme, disguised as a legitimate investment business While he no longer can practice law in Florida, his short prison term ( the owner of MBC, and the front man "president" both received 20 years) does not serve as an effective deterrent to others who may consider operating their own billion-dollar Ponzi scheme.

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