According to allegations by the FBI, Matthew Piercey of Shasta County, California operated a Ponzi scheme through his companies, Family Wealth Legacy and Zolla Fund. When agents went to arrest Piercey, he fled in his truck, with a plan to escape into the frigid waters of Lake Shasta. Unfortunately for Piercey, his plan was foiled by his pesky need for oxygen.

After FBI agents arrived to arrest him at his home, Matthew Piercey led agents on a chase that went off-road twice, according to a local newspaper. FBI agents surveilled Piercey from a helicopter as he abandoned his truck near the shore of the lake, entering the water on an underwater scooter. The scooter he used as a getaway vehicle can travel at top speeds of around 4 mph. Piercey remained underwater for 25 minutes. Agents stood by, watching as bubbles rose to the surface. Piercey eventually emerged from his underwater hideout and agents took him into custody. His wife provided a set of dry clothes.

Piercey raised money through Family Wealth Legacy’s Upvesting Fund. According to a report from The Sacramento Bee, Upvesting Fund advertised that it would generate returns through cryptocurrency mining. Money raised by investors instead allegedly paid for Matthew Piercey’s multiple homes and credit card bills.

Many of Piercey’s victims attended the Bethel Church in Redding, California. Investors who contributed to the fraudulent Upvesting Fund may have communicated with the president of Family Wealth Legacy, Kenneth Winton. Winton has been charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud. On November 12, 2020, a grand jury indicted Matthew Piercey for money laundering, witness tampering, mail fraud, and wire fraud. If convicted, he faces 20 years in prison and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.

If you worked with Matthew Piercey and you have concerns about your investments, you should reach out to the securities attorneys of Fitapelli Kurta for a free case evaluation. Call (212) 658-1500 or email

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