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Ponzi Scheme Suspect Tries to Evade FBI Using Underwater ‘Seascooter’

The Seascooter found by authorities following the chase. Photo via court records.

By Steve Neavling

A Ponzi scheme suspect led FBI agents on a wild chase that ended in the frigid waters of a remote lake in Northern California. 

When agents tried to arrest Matthew Piercey, 44, near Redding on Monday morning, he fled in a car and headed up Interstate 5 before reaching Lake Shasta, a large reservoir north of Redding. Then Piercey swam into the lake with an underwater submersible device called a “Seascooter” and “spent some time out of sight underwater where law enforcement could only see bubbles,” federal officials said in court documents.

“He remained in the frigid water for approximately 25 minutes,” the complaint reads. 

When Piercey reemerged, authorities arrested him. 

 Piercey and his business partner Kenneth Winton were indicted by a grand jury last week. Piercey is accused of bilking investors out of $35 million between July 2015 and August. Authorities say he preyed on a megachurch where he was a member. 

Piercey faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted. 


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