Fresno man accused of stealing $4.2M in Ponzi scheme and COVID-19 loan fraud, DOJ says

A Fresno man accused of a Ponzi scheme and other fraud totaling more than $4.2 million was arrested Monday, according to a news release from U.S. Department of Justice.

Royce Newcomb, 60, of Fresno was indicted on five counts of wire fraud and a count of money laundering through his company Strategic Innovations LLC, the release said.

Along with a Ponzi scheme, he’s accused of receiving a COVID-19 loan of more than $70,000 from the Small Business Administration and fraudulent loans of more than $190,000 from private lenders, prosecutors said.

He’s accused of lying about his company’s revenue, claiming to have millions to attract investors, the release said.

Court records say he began making claims in 2017 that his company made technology meant to fight package thefts, prevent weather damage to packages and make delivery easier.

He created prototypes of products, got patents and trademarks and received some local and national media attention on TV, prosecutors say.

Newcomb falsely claimed to have been awarded a grant by the National Science Foundation to get financial support from investors, the DOJ said.

Newcomb used the money to pay for his personal expenses including gambling, luxury vehicles and a mansion, the release said. He also used new investments to pay off old debts from other investors, which is commonly called a Ponzi scheme, prosecutors said.

If convicted, Newcomb faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each of the wire fraud counts, and 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the money laundering count.