Barrington man will plead guilty in Ponzi scheme

Patrick Churchville's Barrington home

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A Barrington man says he’ll plead guilty to criminal charges for running a $21 million Ponzi scheme, stealing and using $2.5 million of investors’ funds to buy his own home, and failing to pay upwards of $820,000 in personal federal income taxes.

Patrick E. Churchville, 47, is charged with five counts of wire fraud and one count of tax fraud, according to Jim Martin, a spokesperson for U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha.

Churchville had also been accused by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in the scheme.

As president and owner of “ClearPath Wealth Management LLC,” Churchville invested about $18 million in a Maryland company, JER Receivables, starting in 2008. By June 2010, the investment was no longer producing returns, but Churchville didn’t tell his clients he’d lost millions of dollars. Instead, he took $21 million from new investments and paid back the old investors, saying it was their return from JER.

Neronha said Churchville was “motivated by greed and a desire to live an outlandishly expensive lifestyle… Rather than act in the interest of his clients, he acted only in his own.

“His conduct is a reminder to those who invest that integrity is not found behind every door,” Neronha added.

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