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Albert M. Quirantes | Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer Office

Ponzi Scheme: Former Miami Pop Star Promoter Faces Trial for Fraud

Jack Utsick was extradited from Brazil to Miami in late 2014 charged with fleecing millions of dollars from investors.

After a long period of working as a pilot for TWA, Utsick decided to undertake what he had always wanted to do and that was to be a concert promoter. This he did, high in a tower block with a view of Miami Beach.

He arranged tours at home and in Europe for top names such as Michael Jackson, Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac and Elton John, as well as many more top names.

By 2006 his debts had started to grow for Worldwide Entertainment which was his business name and he owed millions of dollars to former work colleagues who were still working in the airline industry who had invested in his business.

Early February 2016 will probably see 73-year-old Utsick standing trial charged with fraud. He has been accused of diverting millions of dollars from his investors in what is being called by authorities as a “Ponzi scheme”, which paid for a luxury condo, collector cars, artwork and whatever else Utsick chose to buy from 1996 to 2006. A Ponzi scheme, also known as a “pyramid scheme”, involves taking money from newer investors to pay earlier investors. These schemes attract unsuspecting investors by promising high returns with low risk.

At the current state of the investigation, Utsick’s attorney and daughter said investigators have gone overboard in trying to find evidence and she believed her father always put his investors first. She also said he is suffering from bipolar disorder and the effects of poor medical treatment in both Brazil and in the US when he returned to the country. His Miami criminal defense attorney has asserted that his health condition may well have affected his business decisions and this will be scrutinized at the trial. At present they had not planned to call in any psychiatric expert at the trial to testify on how Utsick’s condition could have affected his intention to defraud his investors.

So far, Utsick’s Miami criminal defense lawyers have not had any luck persuading U.S. District Judge Cecilia Altonaga to block particular evidence at the trial, including Utsick’s impact on the alleged theft of his investment victim’s assets. One of them, it is alleged, is a couple who have lost their home which they had specially designed for their daughter who was struck by cerebral palsy. Also, evidence of his failure to file any tax returns for a number of years will be allowed in the court case.

Worldwide Entertainment, Utsick’s company, was put into receivership while the Securities and Exchange Commission accused him of fraud. Altogether, Utsick has been accused of pocketing more than $4 million out of $300 million which had been put in by 3,300 investors over almost 10 years.

With all of the Ponzi schemes which have occurred over the years which have been reported on the news and on shows like American Greed, it’s incredible how people continue to hand over their hard worked for life savings to a person to “invest it for them”. Look at well known cases such as Bernie Madoff, Lou Perlman, Scott Rothstein – or even Charles Ponzi himself, the case that started it all in the 1920’s. Come on… would you hand over your hard earned money to a stranger you just met? If you are greedy, you might. Greed takes over your thinking, your rational thought process and you let it happen. Although the claims of high returns on your money are usually ridiculous and hard to believe, you want to believe in the person and they system so much, you stretch your imagination and hand over your money.

This type of crime can be compared to a person putting a gun to your head or back while telling you, “hand me all of your money”. Except this new breed of scam made popular as of the twentieth century uses psychology against you to rob you instead of a gun. If you succumb, it’s because of your greed. Know it and you can control it.

For the accused, fraud of this type may be considered in Florida as aggravated white collar crimes, charged as organized scheme to defraud, grand theft & RICO – Racketeer Influenced & Corrupt Organizations Act crimes which can attract severe penalties. This can include years behind bars even for a 1st offender, very high fines, asset forfeiture & restitution, intended to divest you of your ill gotten gains.

Increase your knowledge! If you want to know more about how to resolve the problems you face when charged with a criminal offense in Florida, then you can follow Miami Criminal Attorney Albert M. Quirantes on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.

If you have any questions about this or any other criminal accusation, call Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer Albert Quirantes at: 305-644-1800 or visit our homepage for a direct link to the office or a text message or a map and directions to our office.

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