Who the hell did I marry? Shawn Merriman, a financial con artist who used a Ponzi scheme to defraud almost 100 people out of more than $21 million, is featured in the film Dreamers and Schemers. He operated out of his Colorado home from June 1994 until February 2009, robbing his church, family, and even his mother. We’ve got your back if you’re curious about Shawn’s arrest and what happened to his family. So let’s get started, shall we?
Who is Shawn Merriman?
Shawn In the autumn of 1998, Richard Merriman was a student at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, where he first met Andrea. She characterised him as a young businessman who owned a lucrative bespoke home stereo installation business. Shawn shared Andrea’s Mormon faith, and she was drawn to his brains and charity. Shawn was the first person I dated who could pull off all those classic Hollywood love gestures without them coming off as corny, the woman recalled. I believed he was the ideal partner I had been seeking.
Shawn proposed in the spring of 1989 after six months of dating, and on August 5, 1989, they were wed. In April 1990, they packed up their belongings and relocated to Denver, Colorado, where he would pursue a Master’s in Business. When we arrived in Denver, Shawn started working as an investment banker and discovered he did not require an MBA, Andrea recounted. He put in three months of labour and earned $50,000. Kim Gordon, Andrea’s sister, said of Shawn, “He was excessively quick on his feet and ambitious. Everyone received more than they needed thanks to him.
Shawn soon started receiving lucrative employment offers from competing organisations as a result of his business savvy and unwavering confidence. He quickly became very wealthy, and his spending increased dramatically. In her explanation, Andrea said that he “brought expensive taste into their marriage.” “I think Shawn felt like he had missed out on some things in his childhood, whether they were material or emotional,” she continued. And the fact that he now had those things of which he had once only dreamed meant a lot to him.
After having their first child in April 1993, Shawn and Andrea moved into a custom-built home in a posh area of Aurora, Colorado. Shawn’s family had a luxury lifestyle as a result of his labour of love. The family’s finances were first managed by Andrea, but she soon quit up after realising that Shawn owned the money. He informed Andrea of a significant business choice in the autumn of 1993. He had a number of wealthy clients who wanted him to leave his company and take up their financial management in a private practise.
In 1994, he launched his business, “Market Street Advisors,” operating out of a space in his home that was off-limits to his family. Andrea said that other from her husband’s rapidly rising expenses, she knew nothing about her husband’s employment or financial achievements. He had accepted the distinguished position of lay bishop in their neighbourhood Mormon church by the year 2005, by which time they were the parents of four kids. According to court records, Shawn offered high returns to entice friends, family, and members of his church to invest with him.
Where is Shawn Merriman Now?
According to documents, between about June 1, 1994, and February 24, 2009, he came up with a plan to defraud investors by acquiring their money using materially false and fraudulent pretences, representations, and promises. He conducted business as Mountain Springs Partners, L.P., as well as as Marque LLC-1, LLC-2, LLC-3, LLC-4, and LLC-5. He persuaded investors that their money would be used to acquire and sell stocks, and that any profits would be returned to the investors.
Court records highlight his mail scam. Ponzi scheme: Instead of trading stocks as promised, he used the millions of dollars he received from more than a hundred people and organisations for his personal gain. He gave his investors false account statements that he had misrepresented his business operations in. To fulfil another investor’s requests for the return of the invested monies, Shawn used money he made from one investor. According to the records, his investments included family members, neighbours, friends, and recommendations.
His investors reportedly trusted him and occasionally used funds from family trusts and individual retirement accounts. When some churchgoers trusted him with their money, he spent it on an opulent lifestyle that included the purchase of vintage cars, a boat, and a 350-piece art collection. Even Sally Merriman, his mother, fell victim to him. Records showed Shawn stopped selling completely starting around 2004, yet he accepted money until February 24, 2009 on the pretence of making profits.
But on March 18, 2009, when he called Andrea while she was out conducting errands, everything changed. Before surrendering himself in, Shawn told her about his fraudulent activities. Andrea remembered, “He said, ‘My firm is a farce.’ What? I exclaimed. He then said it again, “My firm is a farce. On April 8, 2009, U.S. Marshals and U.S. Postal Inspectors seized his assets, and on August 19, 2009, they accused him of operating a mail fraud Ponzi scheme that deceived 67 people.
He entered a guilty plea on December 2, 2009, and on September 14, 2010, he was given a sentence of 151 months in federal prison. Shawn was also required by the court to give the victims $20,124,183.13 in restitution, and he also consented to relinquish interests in all the assets that made up and came from the proceeds of his unlawful activity. Since then, Andrea and her kids have moved elsewhere after divorcing Shawn. According to reports, Andrea Merriman Ramsey currently gives courses on fraud detection across the country. Court records show that Shawn, who is in his 60s, was released in 2020.
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