A former eastern Idaho investor has pleaded guilty to felony wire fraud and money laundering as part of an agreement with federal prosecutors.
Daren Palmer, who appeared in U.S. District Court in Pocatello on Tuesday, remains on supervised release until his sentencing on Aug. 22.
Prosecutors say Palmer duped clients out of millions of dollars in a Ponzi scheme over the course of several years. Investigators accused him of using his company, Trigon Group, to fraudulently take more than $76 million from 68 separate investors.
State and federal officials called it a classic Ponzi scheme, in which money from new investors is used to pay off earlier investors. The scheme falls apart when clients start trying to pull their money out and there aren't enough new investors to provide funds.
In Idaho, federal prosecutors filed charges against Palmer last month after a two-year FBI investigation. The Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission won civil lawsuits against Palmer, who was ordered to pay about $90 million in restitution and fines.
Palmer has cooperated with his prosecution and wanted to plead guilty as early as a year ago, said assistant U.S. Attorney Jack Haycock.