LAS VEGAS — Federal authorities allege that a Las Vegas attorney who was shot and wounded before his arrest by FBI agents last week headed a $300 million Ponzi scheme that bilked investors from Nevada, Utah and California.
Matthew Wade Beasley, 49, made an initial appearance by videoconference Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas and pleaded not guilty to a charge of assault on a federal officer following a standoff March 4 at his home, prosecutors and his defense attorney said.
Beasley's attorney, Robert Draskovich, said Wednesday his client remained in federal custody, is recovering from shoulder and chest wounds, and that agents went to his house as part of an investigation alleging that Beasley enlisted investors in a company that offered short-term loans to clients.
"Right now, he's facing a single charge," Draskovich said. "But based on the government's representations, he'll likely face additional charges." Draskovich said Beasley will fight additional charges if they are filed.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Tony Lopez told U.S. Magistrate Judge Elayna Youchah that the alleged Ponzi scheme dated to 2017, and that Beasley told FBI negotiators who were called to his home after he was wounded that he expected investigators because they had earlier interviewed an associate, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
A statement from Acting U.S. Attorney Christopher Chiou said that after an agent displayed his FBI identification, Beasley stepped into view behind his glass front door pointing a gun at own head.
"When agents instructed Beasley to drop the gun, Beasley instead pointed it at the agents in a sweeping motion — causing one or more agents to discharge their firearm," the statement said.
The FBI in Las Vegas has not identified the three agents who went to Beasley's house.
Lopez said that during a four-hour standoff, Beasley "repeatedly confessed" to his involvement in the investment scheme and admitted orchestrating it, the Review-Journal said. Beasley remained in the house until FBI SWAT agents entered.
The FBI posted an online form outlining elements of what it called the "Slip-and-Fall Ponzi Scheme," inviting potential victims to fill out a questionnaire about their experience.
Beasley is due again in court March 22.