West Warwick man pleads guilty to running $14M Ponzi scheme

THOMAS HULING of West Warwick pleaded guilty Wednesday to several counts of tax fraud, wire fraud and tax evasion related to a what investigators called a $14 million Ponzi scheme that defrauded investors of roughly $6 million. / COURTESY CAROL M. HIGHSMITH

PROVIDENCE – A West Warwick man admitted to conducting a decadelong Ponzi scheme that defrauded investors of roughly $6 million, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Wednesday.

Thomas Huling, 58, pleaded guilty to charges of multiple counts of wire fraud, money laundering and tax evasion in U.S. District Court in Providence Wednesday.

Huling, who was formerly a mortgage broker, solicited funds for investments, promising substantial returns over a short period of time with minimal risk. He also was said to have incorporated religion and charitable projects, as well as celebrities, into his pitches. He raised an estimated $14 million through the scheme.

According to court documents, Huling filed false tax returns and lied to Internal Revenue Service agents concerning his income, expenses and business activities.

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Huling allegedly used shell companies to conceal his income and expenses. He also employed methods such as the extensive use of cash, manipulating books, recording sham loans and concealing personal assets as corporate assets. The DOJ said that Huling allegedly used the funds to support a lavish lifestyle including cars, golf memberships and vacations.

Huling remains in federal custody and is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 19. He faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for committing wire fraud, and five years in prison for committing tax evasion.

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