Acting U.S. Attorney Alexander C. Van Hook announced last week that Donnie Laing, Jr., 40, of Youngsville, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Terry A. Doughty for wire fraud.
Laing was sentenced to 36 months in prison, followed by 3 years of supervised release and was also ordered to pay $918,531 in restitution to the victims of this scheme.
Laing pled guilty in March 2020 to wire fraud in connection with a million dollar Ponzi scheme that he orchestrated through his limited liability company, Capital Energy Investments, LLC (“Capital”).
Laing was a former business associate of former U.S. Rep. Vance McAllister, of Swartz.
Evidence established that from April through November of 2018, Laing operated a Ponzi scheme through Capital. Laing used Capital to set up a business bank account and solicit money from the victims of his scheme.
He represented himself to be the owner of Capital, a purportedly legitimate business that purchased and rented out oil and gas equipment. Investors were led to believe that Capital would use their money to invest in oil and gas equipment, and then lease such equipment to companies engaged in oil and gas exploration activities for a profit, promising investors high rates of return on their investments.
Instead, Laing used the victims’ investments for his own personal use. Throughout the scheme, Laing submitted false proposals and contracts to his victims to persuade them to invest their money with Capital. He also used funds from new investors to make payments to previous investors under the guise that the payments represented legitimate profits and returns on the victims’ investments. These payments allowed the defendant to avoid detection and obtain additional funds from his victims.
Laing also used his relationship with a former business associate living in northeast Louisiana to solicit money from investors.
Throughout the course of the scheme, Laing defrauded multiple investors and received nine investor payments during the period from April to October 2018.
The FBI investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Cadesby B. Cooper prosecuted the case.