The owner of a sports betting investment company ran an $8.5 million Ponzi scheme that ripped off investors, including Ohioans, the feds say

CLEVELAND, Ohio — A Las Vegas man is accused of bilking investors out of his sports betting operation out of more than $8 million by running a Ponzi scheme, according to federal prosecutors.

Matthew Turnipseed ran a betting company called MoneyLine Analytics and stole $8.5 million from 72 investors, according to the indictment filed in federal court in Cleveland.

Turnipseede is charged with mail fraud and wire fraud. Court records do not list an attorney for Turnipseede, and an arraignment date has not yet been set. The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Christopher Boyko.

Several of those who invested in Turnipseede’s venture are from Ohio, including at least one from Northeast Ohio, according to court records.

He used investors’ money to finance trips to Disneyland and Hawaii, pay leases on several cars, spa trips and country club membership fees, according to the indictment.

Turnipseede defrauded investors in country clubs and high-end restaurants and won other clients through mutual friends or family members, according to the indictment and filings in Nevada bankruptcy court.

He promised high returns on investments, sometimes as high as 35 percent, court records said. He told investors he had devised a foolproof betting system that involved very small bets, according to the indictment. That system means more money when a favored team wins and minimizes losses when it bets against the spread and loses, according to bankruptcy court filings.

Turnipseede bets on pro baseball, basketball and football, college basketball and football and Euroleague football, according to court records. He told investors he would receive no compensation, only a share of the profits.

The bets were never paid, prosecutors said. About 98 percent of the money deposited into the accounts of his firms came directly from investors, according to the indictment.

For years, he sent falsified statements to investors showing that they had made large profits. When the investors asked for their money back, he paid the original investors with money from recent investors, according to the indictment.

Later, when more customers asked for their money back or to see their account information, Turnipseede refused and forced them to invest more money, according to court records.

As more investors pulled their investments, Turnipseede blamed the coronavirus pandemic for the suspension and suspension of sports seasons.

In May 2021, he began telling investors he had lost all the money and his company filed for bankruptcy, according to bankruptcy court filings.

Several investors have filed a complaint in Nevada bankruptcy court asking a judge to release them from bankruptcy and force Turnipseede to pay them back, along with benefits.

Those who invested and lost money are from at least 15 states. Most of the Ohioans who lost money were from the Columbus area, but others were from the Dayton area. One person who invested and lost money from Dublin has since died, according to court records filed in the Nevada bankruptcy case involving Turnipseede.

The indictment does not specifically say where in Northeast Ohio the victim is from, but bankruptcy documents show Turnipseede owed an Avon Lake man whose initials match a victim in the indictment $57,000 in business debt.

One person lost nearly $500,000, another lost about $650,000, and a woman who wanted to invest in something stable after retirement lost about $100,000, according to court documents.

The bankruptcy case is ongoing, as is Turnipseede’s personal bankruptcy filing, which lists his assets at $87,000 and his liabilities at more than $4.9 million. He lists a 2014 BMW 535i, a 2015 Mercedes ES 350 and a 2014 Toyota Sequoia among his assets.

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