Ponzi Scheme Criminals Receive 10 Years In Federal Prison

By  //  February 1, 2015

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TARGETED BREVARD COUNTY SENIORS

A Federal Judge accepted the guilty plea of Donald Babb, left, and Ralph Ruth, right, in reference to Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud at the Federal Courthouse in Orlando, today. The defendants face up to 20 years in Federal prison and the restitution of over 18 million dollars to the investors they victimized. (BCSO images)

A Federal Judge accepted the guilty plea of Donald Babb, left, and Ralph Ruth, right, in reference to Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud at the Federal Courthouse in Orlando in November. Earlier this week, approximately 40 victims who collectively lost millions of dollars to this Ponzi Scheme traveled to Orlando, Florida to testify during the sentencing of the two men who targeted them and forever changed their lives. (BCSO images)

ORLANDO, FLORIDA – Earlier this week, approximately 40 victims who collectively lost millions of dollars to a very elaborate Ponzi Scheme traveled to Orlando, Florida to testify during the sentencing of the two men who targeted them and forever changed their lives.

The victims traveled together on Space Coast Area Transit (S.C.A.T.) buses that were arranged by our Economic Crimes Unit to aid in transporting all of the victims to the Federal Courthouse so they could share with the Honorable Judge John Antoon the impact of being victimized by the perpetrators of the Ponzi Scheme.

In November of 2013 the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Economic Crimes Unit initiated a joint investigation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Office of Financial Regulation that followed numerous complaints against Southeast Mutual Investment and Insurance, Capstar Industries and First Merchant Capital LLC.

The organizations that primarily targeted elderly victims were operated by Donald Ray Babb and Ralph Ruth both of Brevard County.

Based upon the nature of the complaints our Countywide Economic Crimes Unit initiated a very aggressive investigation in an effort to minimize the number of victims that were being targeted.

The subsequent investigation revealed that Babb and Ruth were issuing Certificates of Deposit through their businesses claiming to be FDIC insured.

Judge John Antoon

Judge John Antoon

Further investigation revealed that approximately 181 investors most of whom were from Brevard County trusted Babb and Ruth to make conservative investments that totaled approximately $18 Million dollars.

The victims trusted that the investments were being made to sustain their retirements and financial futures and in some cases involved the life savings of the victims.

The investigation also revealed that Babb and Ruth never purchased the CD’s after accepting funds and were never FDIC insured.

Babb and Ruth were in fact operating an elaborate Ponzi Scheme that targeted our citizens while stealing their life savings.

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As a result of their actions, Babb and Ruth were charged federally with numerous crimes for the millions they stole from unsuspecting victims.

On Friday, January 30, 2015, justice was delivered when Babb and Ruth were sentenced to 10 years each in Federal Prison by Judge Antoon.

bcso-star-180The sentence also included a total restitution payment by both defendants in the amount of $18,000,000.00 to the victims who were targeted by the criminal activity.

While the victims will most likely never receive the payment for their losses they at least know that the subjects will spend the next 10 years of their life in prison and will no longer be on the streets where they can target or harm anyone else.

I would like to personally commend the actions of our Economic Crimes Unit and the other agencies who worked collectively on the investigation to make sure that justice was served to the two perpetrators.

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Agent Tim Anliker, Agent Laura Leister, and Special Agent Jim Rothe of the FBI did an amazing job with this case and in working as advocates with our many victims.

I would also like to thank the Space Coast Area Transit bus drivers for making sure that the victims in this case had a voice at the sentencing and could be transported together for the hearing.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey has been a law enforcement officer for over three decades. Sheriff Ivey is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and has a Bachelor’s Degree from Daytona State College in Management and Supervision. Sheriff Ivey’s background in law enforcement is inclusive of Management, Criminal Investigations, Narcotics, Patrol Services, Public Integrity Investigations, and Corrections.

Sheriff Wayne Ivey

Prior to being elected in 2012, Sheriff Ivey served the citizens of the State of Florida as a Resident Agent in Charge for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. As a member of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Sheriff Ivey developed and created the country’s first ever statewide Task Force on Identity Theft.

That same year the Task Force was named one of the top five most innovative programs in the country by the International Association of Chiefs of Police and investigated approximately 44 million dollars in fraud cases. Additionally, as a member of FDLE, Sheriff Ivey created the Child Abduction Response Team (C.A.R.T) that re-defined the way Child Abduction cases are conducted throughout the country today.

Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey has been a law enforcement officer for over three decades. Sheriff Ivey is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and has a Bachelor’s Degree from Daytona State College in Management and Supervision. Sheriff Ivey’s background in law enforcement is inclusive of Management, Criminal Investigations, Narcotics, Patrol Services, Public Integrity Investigations, and Corrections.

The program was later selected as the most innovative program in the country by the International Association of Chiefs of Police and is now used as a nationwide model in the response and investigation of child abductions.

Sheriff Ivey has testified before the United States Congress on law enforcement related matters and has extensive experience in the area of Public Integrity Investigations. Sheriff Ivey was honored as the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Special Agent of the Year (1996) and was also recognized by the Commissioner of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for his Outstanding Contributions to Criminal Justice. In August of 2011 Sheriff Ivey was honored by the National Organization of Victims Advocacy for his work at the national level as an advocate of victim’s rights and protection.

Sheriff Ivey speaks regularly on topics such as Identity Theft, Crime in America, Human Trafficking, Domestic Violence, and Self Defense through Mental Preparedness. Sheriff Ivey firmly believes that Crime Prevention and Education are vital to reduce our crime rate and protect our community.


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