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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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SEC says Spokane County man scammed investors

A Spokane County man has been accused of running an Internet-based Ponzi scheme that lured about 200 investors with promises of easy money on what turned out to be a bogus loan program. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission says Craig Jolly pocketed at least $628,000 of the $4 million solicited from 200 investors, using it to pay for an all-terrain vehicle, tractor rentals, medical bills for a hand injury, a Toyota Tundra truck, tools, supplies and his own money-losing stock trades on E-Trade.

Swindler’s number is coming up

Super-salesman Michael Duane Smith sits alone in his nondescript house in northeast Spokane, an electronic monitoring bracelet around his ankle, wondering when he will appear before a federal judge in Denver. If federal prosecutors get their way in the next few weeks, the judge will sentence Smith to 15 years in prison for his role in a high-yield investment scheme. The fraud led to the loss of more than $50 million by 1,000 investors in this region and elsewhere in the United States.