TOWSON, Md. (WJZ) — Kevin Merrill was sentenced to 22 years in federal prison in the $550 million Ponzi scheme that federal prosecutors said is the largest-ever in the Maryland region.
The 54-year-old was arrested back in September 2018. Since then, the feds have seized 25 cars, a boat, insurance policies, cards, jewelry and hundreds of thousands in cash.
He pled guilty shortly after the government seized those assets totaling hundreds of thousands in value bought with other people’s money.
“The Merrill case is a tragic example of obscene greed,” U.S. Attorney Robert Hurr said.
A federal judge said Kevin Merrill’s confidence coerced his hundreds of victims into trusting him with their money more- more than $180 million in out of pocket losses. Nearly $400 million in invested losses.
“That money didn’t get to get spent on college tuition or retirement,” Hur said. “That money went to luxury sports cars, and high-end watches, and expensive clothes and shoes, and extravagant mansions here in Maryland on the Eastern Shore and in Naples, Florida.
Kevin Merrill is facing up to 40 years in prison. Prosecutors asked for 32. Defense counsel asked for 10, but the judge weighed a number of factors and the sentence came down to 22 years and payment to the victims.
“That word confidence, that’s the root of conman or conartist,” Hur said. “That’s what he was. He conned many innocent victims out of hard-earned cash.”
30-year-old Amanda Merrill, his wife, pled guilty to trying to conceal property after Kevin Merrill was arrested.