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Manitowoc man indicted for orchestrating $3,000,000 Ponzi scheme

MANITOWOC — A federal grand jury on Wednesday, May 23 indicted James Nickels, 67, of Manitowoc on eighteen counts of wire fraud.

According to the indictment, from approximately September 2006 until August 2017, Nickels carried out a scheme to defraud by making materially false representations, omissions, and promises to induce people to invest in a business called The Fiscal Concierge.

As part of the scheme, Nickels failed to inform potential investors that he was using money from new investors to pay interest and principal promised to previous investors, and to pay his personal expenses.

Nickels obtained from investor victims more than $5 million in scheme proceeds, and the investors’ net loss was $3,193,616.

Each of the 18 wire fraud charges carries a maximum possible penalty of up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. The money laundering charge carries a maximum possible penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

“Investment schemes can destroy the dreams of victims whose hard-earned savings are stolen. We commend the excellent work of the IRS and the State of Wisconsin in joining forces to investigate this case,” said United States Attorney Krueger.