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Clayton man pleads guilty in Ponzi scheme

Posted October 24, 2011

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— A Clayton man pleaded guilty Monday to taking part in a Ponzi scheme that cost investors about $40 million, authorities said.

Bryan Keith Coats, 51, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit commodities, securities and wire fraud and promotional money laundering conspiracy. He will be sentenced later, when he faces up to 15 years in prison and up to a $500,000 fine.

Coats and several others told investors that they managed a hedge fund called Black Diamond and got people to invest between October 2007 and December 2009 by using phony analytical tools and promises of great returns, prosecutors said. As the scheme began to collapse in 2009, they created cash accounts to pay out older investors and support their own lifestyles, prosecutors said.

Six other people have already pleaded guilty in the scheme.


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  • mikeyj Oct 25, 2011

    IF our "pansey pants in black robes" had any kachungas; these individuals would be forced to pay back all of what they took. MAYBE ifin people quit looking to try and make that quick buck with plans that appear "to good to be true". Maybe Maybe Maybe. You want the dollars go out and work. There is NO WAY to "get rich"!!!!!!!

  • carlostheass Oct 25, 2011

    See? Crime DOES pay and it's our justice system that makes it so profitable.

  • babbleon Oct 25, 2011

    Returns higher than the market = higher than average risks. Including the risk that you're getting scammed. If it looks too good to be true, it probably isn't.

    500K is not enough - 40M / 7 people - should be $5M at least.

  • same ole story Oct 25, 2011

    With all this coverage and NO PICTURES?? Lets show the good people of this area what a crook looks like!!!!!!

  • kj90 Oct 24, 2011

    This is a slap on the wrist. People rob banks and get more time than this guy does. It's a crying shame of how our criminal system is so corrupt.

  • dollibug Oct 24, 2011

    Interesting story as he stole about 40 million and gets 15 years plus a fine of $500,000....so sad the he does not have to pay back all of the money...

  • ncmike Oct 24, 2011

    Yet another Mini Madoff. The greedy investors that expected such exceptional returns deserved to be taken - it if looks too good to be true....