Dawn Bennett Appeals Fraud Conviction, 20-Year Sentence
Former independent broker and investment adviser Dawn Bennett, who was sentenced to 20 years last month for defrauding 46 investors in a $20-million Ponzi scheme, is appealing her conviction and sentence.
The notice did not expand on the grounds for the appeal, and the lawyer who filed the notice, William E. Zapf, told the court on Tuesday that he was withdrawing from the process. He did not return a request for comment.
Bennett is 57-years-old and is incarcerated at the Chesapeake Detention Facility, according to Federal Bureau of Prisons records and court filings.
In July, U.S. District Judge Paula Xinis imposed the sentence and ordered Bennett to pay her victims $14.5 million in restitution. The sentence followed her October 2018 conviction for fraud and conspiracy.
The Securities and Exchange Commission three years ago barred Bennett from the industry and fined her $4.1 million. The former advisor, who began her brokerage career in 1987 with Wheat First Securities, lost her bid to appeal the SEC decision in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Bennett, who Barron’s ranked as a Top 100 Women Financial Advisor in 2009, spent much of the money raised from customers between December 2014 and April 2017 on personal items, including a $500,000 suite to watch Dallas Cowboys games, government prosecutors said at her trial.
She also paid Indian priests $800,000 to perform rituals aimed at warding off SEC and FBI investigators, and also purchased astrological gems and “Hoodoo” spells in her quest to defeat them, they said.
Her career began unraveling in 2015 when the SEC accused her of inflating her assets under management to prospects and clients.