Dawn Bennett found guilty of $20 million Ponzi scheme

Jury took less than five hours to convict the former financial adviser and radio host

Oct 17, 2018 @ 6:00 pm

By Jeff Benjamin

Former financial adviser Dawn Bennett was convicted Wednesday in federal court in Maryland of 17 charges related to a $20 million Ponzi scheme.

Ms. Bennett, 56, was found guilty of all charges, including conspiracy, securities fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud and making false statements on a loan application. The jury deliberated for less than five hours before returning its verdict.

Ms. Bennett, who formerly operated Bennett Financial Group Services, faces a maximum of 20 years in prison for wire fraud conspiracy and for each of nine counts of wire fraud; a maximum of five years for securities fraud conspiracy; a maximum of 20 years for each of four counts of securities fraud; and a maximum of 30 years each for bank fraud and for false statements on a loan application. Ms. Bennett remains detained pending sentencing.

According to evidence presented in the trial, Ms. Bennett obtained more than $20 million from 46 investors between December 2014 and April 2017, many of them elderly clients who knew her from a radio show she hosted focusing on investing.

Prosecutors charged that some of the funds were used to pay earlier investors and the rest was used for her personal benefit, including a luxury suite at a football stadium, to pay a website operator to arrange for priests in India to perform religious ceremonies to ward off federal regulators, to purchase astrological gems and for cosmetic medical procedures.

"Dawn Bennett's greed knew no bounds as she knowingly defrauded elderly retirees of their life's savings," said U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur. "This conviction, and the years in federal prison that she is facing, holds her accountable for her actions."

On Aug. 25, 2017, the SEC filed a related action against Dawn J. Bennett and DJB Holdings d/b/a/ DJBennett and DJBennett.com, alleging violations of the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.


What do you think?

View comments

Recommended for you

Featured video


Female leaders highlighted as future of financial advice

InvestmentNews recognized 20 Women to Watch for their efforts to advance the financial advice industry.

Latest news & opinion

Blucora to buy another broker-dealer with tax-focused advisers

Blucora is paying $180 million in stock for 1st Global, with 850 advisers.

Finra panel dismisses $100 million case involving drop in Merrill Lynch stock

Former brokers bringing charges related to stock losses during financial crisis have had 15 cases proceed, four stopped so far.

Principal-Wells Fargo retirement deal would be among largest ever

Acquisition would be in line with trend of record keepers seeking to gain scale to combat fee reduction.

Finra panel dismisses $100 million case involving drop in Merrill Lynch stock

Former brokers bringing charges related to stock losses during financial crisis have had 15 cases proceed, 4 stopped so far.

ESG options scarce in 401(k) plans

There's growing interest among plan participants, but reluctance to add funds that take into account environmental, social and governance factors persists.


Hi! Glad you're here and we hope you like all the great work we do here at InvestmentNews. But what we do is expensive and is funded in part by our sponsors. So won't you show our sponsors a little love by whitelisting investmentnews.com? It'll help us continue to serve you.

Yes, show me how to whitelist investmentnews.com

Ad blocker detected. Please whitelist us or give premium a try.


Subscribe and Save 60%

Premium Access
Print + Digital

Learn more
Subscribe to Print