Lawyer-Turned-Money Manager Accused in Alleged $7M Ponzi Scheme
Posted Jul 11, 2011 8:03 AM CST
By Debra Cassens Weiss
A lawyer-turned-money manager has been accused in a federal indictment of defrauding investors out of $7 million in a Ponzi scheme.
Tunnell, 72, resigned from the bar in 2001 amid charges he stole $300,000 from his law firm, according to a press release summarizing the indictment. After that, he persuaded friends and family to invest money with him by holding himself out as a highly successful investor.
Prosecutors allege Tunnell lost about $7 million out of $10 million entrusted to him, and used most of the remaining funds to pay investors and to pay off a bank loan. One of the investors was his girlfriend. According to an FBI affidavit cited by the Chronicle, Tunnell told his girlfriend he made a lot of money through investments in commodities such as copper and coffee.