A man from the Lower Nazareth community will spend six and a half years in federal prison to take on his role in a $ 2.7 million Ponzi program, according to a US Attorney’s press release.
60-year-old Todd Lahr reached out to more than 20 of his law firms from 2012 to 2019, according to a press release and court documents. Lahr practiced as a lawyer in South Whitehall Township but was expelled earlier this year.
Lahr told his investors that their money would be used in a variety of business opportunities: mining in Papua New Guinea, acquiring penny stocks, and real estate leases in Spain and England. The money actually went into his mortgage, school fees, bills, and his child’s debt payments. He also used the proceeds to make payments under the Ponzi scheme to previous investors.
Lahr has been ordered to repay $ 2.1 million for his role in the program.
“Lahr used the very people he had to represent in good faith: his own clients,” said Jennifer Arbittier Williams, First Assistant US Attorney. “It is reprehensible to steal millions of dollars from people who pay him for professional services, legal advice, and expert judgment.”
Lahr’s attorney, Rossman D. Thompson, did not return a message asking for comment.
Lahr pleaded guilty in April 2020 to a conspiracy to commit securities fraud and wire fraud, two securities fraud cases, and four wire fraud cases.
After he was caught, Lahr lied to the US Securities and Exchange Commission. He refused to write checks on his personal accounts despite having written at least 25 separate checks to himself over a three-year period.
“Todd Lahr’s clients trusted him,” said Michael J. Driscoll, FBI special agent in Philadelphia. “Lahr knew this and used it to his advantage by selling them on false investment opportunities and pocketing those funds.”
The case was being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and followed by US Assistant Attorney Michael J. Rinaldi and Trial Attorney Philip B. Trout of the US Department of Justice, Criminal Division, Fraud Section.
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