The Hennepin County Attorney's office has brought charges against a man accused of masterminding a Ponzi scheme which allegedly defrauded investors out of at least $53 million.
Gerard Cellette of Andover has been charged with 36 counts of securities fraud. Authorities say Cellette devised the scheme and was the ringleader.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman says the scheme followed a pattern typical of other Ponzi schemes.
"This one was printing contracts. He said he had these printing contracts there, and this is a great rate of return and people got paid a great rate of return," said Freeman. "The only time a Ponzi scheme makes any sense is at the beginning, and this one had run its course."
Authorities are taking inventory of Cellette's properties in an attempt to recover some of that money.
Freeman says it's unclear how many people were involved in the scheme, which spanned several states. He says it's also unclear exactly how many investors may have been involved. The investigation is ongoing.