Ponzi scheme convict wants prison release due to pandemic

A Mississippi man who was sentenced just nine months ago to nearly 20 years in prison after pleading guilty in a $100 million Ponzi scheme is hoping a judge will set him free because of the coronavirus pandemic

JACKSON, Miss. -- A Mississippi man sentenced to nearly 20 years only nine months ago for running a $100 million Ponzi scheme is hoping a federal judge will order his release from prison because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Arthur Lamar Adams, 61, filed a petition in the U.S. District Court in Jackson requesting to serve the remainder of his sentence in home confinement, The Clarion Ledger reported.

Adams initially filed a request with the Federal Bureau of Prisons but the request was denied.

Besides his age, Adams said he has hypertension, high cholesterol, psoriasis, vertigo and occasional lung infections from being a smoker, making him more susceptible to contracting COVID-19.

U.S. Assistant Attorney Dave Fulcher urged U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves to deny Adams' petition, saying all of his health issues can be managed with medicine.

Fulcher also said that Adams hasn't proved he would be safer if released.

Reeves appointed an attorney for Adams made no decision regarding his release.

Adams pleaded guilty to wire fraud and was sentenced in October to 19½ years. He's serving his sentence at Forrest City Low Correctional Institution in Forrest City, Arkansas

Adams ran the Ponzi scheme through his Madison Timber Properties business, defrauding up to 300 investors. He sold bogus timber rights, promising high interest rates but he was really using the money to pay off old investors.