Michael Eugene Kelly

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Michael Eugene Kelly (born October 6, 1949, died December 22, 2013) was the owner of Yucatan Resorts, Resort Holdings International, Puerto Cancun and Avanti Motor Corporation. With 23 others, he is accused by the FBI and the United States Attorney's Office of operating a $428 million Ponzi scheme that defrauded over a thousand elderly and senior citizens of their retirement money.[1]

Kelly was arrested in his hospital room at the Mayo Clinic Rochester, Minnesota, on December 22, 2006 just before he was about to be discharged to return to one of his homes in Cancún, Mexico. In pretrial services, Kelly claimed that he earned $55,000 a year and had only $48,000 in assets. In spite of this claim, Kelly offered a private jet, four yachts and race track as collateral at his detention hearing.[2] He was denied bail and remanded to the Metropolitan Correctional Center, Chicago. Kelly attempted to avoid indictment by arranging a plea agreement that included paying restitution to the victims. On 14 May 2008, Kelly plead not guilty to 14 counts of fraud and was remanded in custody.[3] On 14 April 2009, a court permanently enjoined him from violating sections of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.[4] As of June 30, 2012, he continues to serve out a prison sentence as the court carries out a lengthy process of liquidating former national and international assets to eventually provide partial restitution to victims of the Ponzi scheme.

In December 2012, he was sentenced to 5 years in prison.[5]


  1. ^ US Securities and Exchange Commission press release Washington, 5 September 2007
  2. ^ Cohen J and staff reporter Hotelier denied bond in fraud case. Businessman charged in alleged Ponzi scam holds dual citizenship[dead link] Chicago Tribune, 21 February 2007
  3. ^ About Michael Eugene Kelly[dead link] Unofficial anti-fraud website, which includes a timeline of the proceedings
  4. ^ Litigation Release No. 21003 at U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, 15 April 2009
  5. ^ Nix, Naomi (December 13, 2012). "Swindler gets 5-year prison sentence for $340 million scheme: Victim criticizes deal that includes up to 4 months of house arrest during cancer treatments". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 5, 2013. 

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