David Wagner, 55, of East Greenwich, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in New York of defrauding more than 30 investors of $8 million and misappropriating investor funds.
Wagner solicited over $8 million from Downing investors through materially false and misleading statements and misappropriated a significant portion of those funds between 2013 and 2017, using them for, among other things, the payment of management fees, the repayment of prior investors, and personal expenses. Find the previously sealed indictment here: Wagner – Lawrence Indictment.
Wagner pled guilty before U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein Sept. 21. He was arrested in June 2019. His company had been called Downing Corporation, named for the street in East Greenwich where he lived.
“David Wagner conned employee-investors into handing over more than $8 million they thought would be invested in a viable operation that would generate returns,” said Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss in a press release. “Instead, Wagner’s business was largely a sham, and employee-investor funds went to pay Wagner’s personal expenses or pay off other investors in Ponzi-like fashion. David Wagner now awaits sentencing for his crimes.”
Wagner pled guilty to two counts of securities fraud and one count of wire fraud, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. As part of the plea agreement with the government, Wagner agreed to forfeit $549,000 and pay restitution of $7,850,000 to victims of his criminal conduct. Wagner will be sentenced by Judge Hellerstein on January 11, 2021, at 11 a.m.
The case against co-defendant Marc Lawrence is still pending.