Indian American sentenced to 72 months in federal prison for ripping off investors in sophisticated Ponzi scheme

Neal Goyal

CHICAGO: A Chicago investment manager who fraudulently obtained millions of dollars from investors in a sophisticated Ponzi scheme to fund his extravagant lifestyle was sentenced last week to 72 months in federal prison.

The defendant, Neal Goyal, 34, of Chicago, who was the sole managing member and founder of Blue Horizon Asset Management, LLC, and Caldera Advisors, LLC, was also ordered to pay more than $9.2 million in restitution by U.S. District Judge Matthew F. Kennelly. Goyal, who pleaded guilty in February to one count of wire fraud, was ordered to surrender to begin serving his sentence on September 17.

“Goyal was running a Ponzi scheme and he stole much of his investors’ money to prop up his extravagant lifestyle,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Kenneth Yeadon argued in a government sentencing memorandum. “There is no justification for the crimes that Goyal committed other than his own desire to place his own self-interests in front of the interests of his investors.”

From 2006 to 2014, Goyal perpetrated the scheme by setting up a fake trading shop on Michigan Avenue in Chicago in order to fool his investors into believing that his trading strategy generated market-beating returns. Goyal concealed his scheme by using existing investor money to repay investors, and by creating and distributing false account statements. Many of the duped investors were Goyal’s friends and family members.

The sentence was announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Robert J. Holley, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. They commended the assistance of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.