August 10, 2022

A former Englewood resident was sentenced Thursday to nearly 2½ years in federal prison after he pleaded guilty to running a $1.52 million Ponzi scheme, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Matthew Benjamin, 54, convinced at least three families to front money for his cosmetics wholesale business, Clear Solutions. The only issue: There was no company, and Benjamin used their funding to finance his family’s lavish lifestyle while doling out small amounts to other victims to keep up the appearance he was turning a profit, attorneys said.

From 2017 into 2019, Benjamin told victims he had access to a cache of cosmetic products being sold at low costs for clearance, and that he could resell the items to partners in the cosmetics industry.

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But there was no stockpile of discount items and no vendors to buy them, attorneys said.

Instead, Benjamin lured potential victims into his scam by producing false bank statements, invoices and purchase orders and other fraudulent documents, as alleged proof of transactions Clear Solutions never conducted.

On some occasions, Benjamin explained the lack of payouts by telling his victims their money had been reinvested in new deals and inventory purchases,…

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