Suspect in $35M Ponzi scheme attempts to flee law enforcement using ‘sea scooter’

On Tuesday, 44-year-old Matthew Piercy of Palo Cedro was arraigned in Sacramento. Piercy is currently being held in a Sacramento jail.

Posted: Nov 17, 2020 6:47 PM
Updated: Nov 18, 2020 9:26 AM

SHASTA COUNTY, Calif. – On Tuesday, 44-year-old Matthew Piercy of Palo Cedro was arraigned in Sacramento. Piercy is currently being held in a Sacramento jail. Another status hearing is set for next month.

On Monday, authorities arrested Piercy after he led authorities on a chase that ended in Lake Shasta.

According to court documents, the Palo Cedro man attempted to evade investigators by using a Yamaha 350 LI, a submersible device. After about 25 minutes, investigators say Piercy emerged from the water, and that’s when law enforcement was able to make the arrest.

People tell Action News Now that Piercy’s attempted escape was a crazy one.

“The story was kind of crazy,” said Yari Dewalt of Shingletown. “He's trying to get away on a scooter type thing and then he's just underneath the water.”

“I thought it was kind of stupid but kind of funny when you hear about it. I mean, [the authorities] are just going to wait above the water.

The Department of Justice says that Piercy and 67-year-old Kenneth Winton of Oroville are charged in a $35 million Ponzi scheme.

RELATED: 2 North State men charged in $35M Ponzi scheme

Piercy is charged with witness tampering, money laundering, wire fraud, and mail fraud. If convicted, the 44-year-old could face 20 years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines.

Winton is has been charged separately with conspiracy to commit fraud. He is set to appear in court on November 19.

People tell Action News Now because of the scheme, it’s more important now to pay attention to where your money goes.

“These are not uncommon and certain people prey upon people's trust,” said Michael Cogan of Redding. “If it's something's too good, it usually not true.”

Action News Now also reached out to Bethel Church. The church confirmed that Piercy and his family did attend the church for the past few years, but is not an official member.

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1114524

Reported Deaths: 18726
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles3645207438
San Bernardino845311129
Riverside806761400
San Diego71648968
Orange696941554
Kern38316445
Fresno35973471
Sacramento33133546
Santa Clara30676463
Alameda27485499
San Joaquin24649503
Contra Costa22412258
Stanislaus20370416
Tulare19752303
Ventura18040174
Imperial15053353
San Francisco14445158
Monterey13886113
San Mateo13203169
Sonoma11428155
Merced10986176
Santa Barbara10922133
Kings1003886
Solano934980
Marin7518128
Placer577867
Madera571480
San Luis Obispo561835
Yolo419975
Shasta409542
Santa Cruz389827
Butte366459
Napa275717
Sutter263813
El Dorado19304
San Benito174115
Yuba173210
Lassen14803
Tehama143523
Mendocino138522
Nevada10189
Lake83218
Glenn8296
Humboldt7309
Tuolumne7088
Colusa6426
Mono4993
Siskiyou4951
Amador45016
Calaveras43421
Inyo28316
Del Norte2731
Plumas1770
Trinity1130
Modoc1110
Mariposa1042
Alpine420
Sierra170
Unassigned00
Chico
Scattered Clouds
63° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 63°
Oroville
Clear
62° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 62°
Paradise
Scattered Clouds
63° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 63°
Chester
Overcast
44° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 39°
Red Bluff
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 66°
Willows
Scattered Clouds
63° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 63°
Mostly sunny & dry weather is ahead for your Monday. The potential for showers will return to mostly mountain areas late Tuesday night through Wednesday .We'll be drying back out for Thanksgiving.
KHSL Severe
KHSL Radar
KHSL Temperatures

Community Events