SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A suspect in a $35 million Ponzi scheme is in custody after trying to escape arrest by using a sea scooter to hide from FBI agents in Lake Shasta.

The U.S. Attorney’s office filed court documents that said 44-year-old Matthew Piercey used a Yamaha submersible device to stay under the surface of Lake Shasta after initially leading agents on a chase through neighborhoods and highways in the Redding area. A helicopter monitoring Piercey watched him swim into the lake with the device after abandoning his truck at the shore.

A Yamaha tutorial video describes the “sea scooter” as having underwater propulsion that allows users to cruise at depths of 100 feet below the surface. According to court documents, Piercey was out of sight underwater “where law enforcement could only see bubbles.” He emerged from the frigid waters after 25 minutes and was taken into custody.

Piercey has been indicted for running an alleged $35 million Ponzi scheme through his company called Family Wealth Legacy. He allegedly used investor money to buy his homes and pay millions of his own credit.

More from CBS Sacramento:

The FBI has been investigating for more than a year. Attorney Josh Kons has clients who are alleged victims.

“You know, you never know what is going through someone’s mind when they’re being pursued by the FBI,” Kons said. “And we kept investigating, and all of a sudden today, here he is trying to escape into a lake, using a submersible device.”

Already wanted by the FBI and now making waves with underwater attempted escape. This suspect went from his submersible scooter to the slammer.

The US attorney is now considering this suspect a flight risk. He’s in custody in the Sacramento County jail with no bail and no sea scooter. He is charged with wire fraud, mail fraud, money laundering, and witness tampering.


By Richard Moran

Richard Moran loves to write about sports with the Golden State Online. Before that, he worked as a senior writer at ESPN. Richard grew up in San Diego and graduated from the University of San Diego in 2004, after which he worked as an editor for five years.

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