John Wayne Zidar

In the middle and late 1990s, J.W. Zidar was working in odd jobs trying to make a living, being a car salesman for a time and later, a restaurant janitor. But, he also had been involved in several shady “investment programs”, commonly known as Ponzis. In the late ‘90s, he created his own “investment programs”, which he named Vista International, Oakleaf International and Rosewood International. To market his “investments”, Zidar retained a multi-level marketing “pro”, John Matthews, who at the time was living out of his car.

Matthews operated a phone bank or “boiler-room” where potential investors were called and persuaded to invest because of the phenomenal return of 120 % ROI. People were encouraged to mortgage their homes and charge their credit cards to the limit to get into these investments. Commissions were paid to those who convinced others to join these programs, and commissions ranged from 20% to 40%.

Zidar targeted lots of investors who disliked big government, were opponents of the Fed, etc, and he employed those who had an influence on such people, like Shawn Rice. His Ponzi scheme raised about 75 million bux.

He got indicted, was tried and convicted, and sentenced to 30 years.