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February 25, 2011

Cars owned by Ponzi schemer to be auctioned

In December, a federal judge sentence Byron Keith Brown to 15 years in prison for bilking people out of $17 million in an Internet Ponzi scheme.

On Tuesday, you can buy his luxury cars during an auction run by the U.S. Treasury Department being held in Ellicott City (photo at left provided by the treasury department).

Brown was convicted after a three-week trial in U.S. District Court in Baltimore. He ran a company called "In God We Trust Financial Services" and several others under different names in Virginia and Maryland. He used to live in Ellicott City.

Prosecutors said that from 2003 to 2009, Brown pushed an investment scheme in which he created fake investors to give the appearance that people were sending him up to $1 million "Brown used funds from new investors to make payments to old investors and to conceal his diversion of investors' monies," prosecutors said.

With Brown securely in prison, the feds can now auction off his cars. Here's a list:

2007 Lamborghini Murcielago            2005 Rolls Royce Phantom
2004 Mercedes Benz Maybach 57       2006 Aston Martin
2008 Maserati Gran Turismo              2002 Ferrari 360
2004 Bentley Continental                  2007 Jaguar XKR CPE
1936 Auburn Speedster                    2006 Land Rover
2006 Mercedes Benz S500                2005 Land Rover Range Rover
2007 BMW 3 Series                          2004 Audi AA8
2005 BMW 7 Series                          2005 Volkswagen Beetle
2005 GMC Canyon

See pictures of the cars here.

For more information:

The auction will be conducted on behalf of the U.S. Department of the Treasury at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 1, 2011 at the Manheim Baltimore-Washington location, 7120 Dorsey Run Road, Elkridge, MD, 21075.  

Brown acquired the luxury vehicles being auctioned through his involvement in an online ponzi scheme through which he fraudulently obtained over $17 million from online investors.  These vehicles were seized from him as part of an investigation by IRS – Criminal Investigation and the prosecution of the case by the U.S. Attorneys Office.  Byron Keith Brown was sentenced on December 21, 2010 to 15 years in prison followed by three years of supervised release for wire fraud and money laundering.

Proceeds from the auction will be placed in the U.S. Treasury's Asset Forfeiture Fund.  The net proceeds derived from the assets sold will be available as restitution to the victims of Byron Keith Brown’s crimes.

The general public may preview the vehicles at the Manheim Baltimore-Washington location, 7120 Dorsey Run Road, Elkridge, MD, 21075, on Monday, February 28, 2011 from 1:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. Previews are open to the media.

For more information about this auction please call the Auction line at 1-888-534-2828.

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About Peter Hermann
Peter Hermann started covering news for The Baltimore Sun in 1990, first in Anne Arundel County and, starting in 1994, reporting on the Baltimore Police Department. In 2001, he was assigned to Jerusalem as the Baltimore Sun's Middle East correspondent. He returned in 2005 as an assistant city editor overseeing crime coverage. In 2008, Peter returned to the beat as a daily reporter and blogger. A recent BBC report featured him in a segment on the harsh realities of covering crime in Baltimore.

Coverage will focus on crime trends, problems in neighborhoods in the city and elsewhere, profiles of victims and police officers and try to offer readers a fresh perspective on one of the most vexing issues facing Baltimore and its future.

Contributing to this blog is Justin Fenton, who joined The Sun in 2005 and has covered the Baltimore City Police Department and the criminal justice system since 2008. His work includes an investigation into Cal Ripken Jr.’s minor league baseball stadium deal with his hometown of Aberdeen, a three-part series chronicling a ruthless con woman, coverage of the killing of five Amish children at a schoolhouse in Nickel Mines, Pa., and a job swap with a British crime reporter to explore differences in crime-fighting. A special report looking into how city police handle rape cases led to sweeping reforms that changed the way sexual assaults are investigated in Baltimore. He was recognized as the best reporter in Baltimore by the City Paper in 2010 and by Baltimore Magazine in 2011.

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