Ponzi schemer sentencing postponed for third time

Posted March 24, 2011, at 2:17 p.m.

MOUNT DESERT, Maine — The sentencing of a former seasonal resident who pleaded guilty last July to stealing more than $27 million from investors has been postponed until April, according to documents filed in federal court in Philadelphia.

Donald Anthony Walker Young, 40, embezzled the money from investors from the firm he founded and ran in Kennett Square, Pa., from 1999 to 2009, federal officials have said. He had been scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia but requested and was granted a 30-day continuance, according to information posted on the federal court’s website.

Federal officials have set a new sentencing date for Young on April 27.

It is the third time Young’s sentencing has been postponed. The sentencing had been scheduled for Oct. 28, 2010, and then for Dec. 2, 2010, but each time it was continued at the request of parties involved.

Information about why the sentencing has been repeatedly postponed has not been publicly released.

According to the criminal indictment against Young, filed in April 2010, he had been entitled as an investment adviser to 1 percent of the net asset value of his clients’ invested money and he had promised to invest the rest in well-established and large companies.

Instead, Young diverted tens of millions of dollars of his clients’ money for his own use, the indictment indicates. Among other things, the indictment states that he maintained and purchased luxury homes for himself in Chester County, Pa.; Palm Beach, Fla.; and Northeast Harbor, with his clients’ stolen funds.

Young was indicted on charges of mail fraud and money laundering and was ordered to forfeit his homes and $27.9 million to federal authorities. Investigators have compared Young’s conduct to a Ponzi scheme, in which one investor’s money is used to pay off promised dividends to another.

Until 2009, Young owned a home on Tennis Club Road in Northeast Harbor. He had purchased the home, which has five bedrooms, 3½ bathrooms and three fireplaces, in 2001 for $715,000. The house sits on a 1.39-acre parcel within easy walking distance of the Northeast Harbor Swimming Club.

After the SEC seized the property as collateral to repay Young’s investors, the house sold this past January to Owen C. Marx for $1.25 million, according to local municipal records. Federal officials also seized a 33-foot fiberglass International One sailing sloop called Sagara, which at the end of 2009 was on the market for $72,000.

Among the people whose money Young is accused of misappropriating are Milliken & Co. co-heir W.B. Dixon Stroud Jr., a Chester County resident who also owns a home in Mount Desert. George Strawbridge Jr., co-heir of the Campbell’s Soup fortune and owner of a home on Sargent Drive in Northeast Harbor, also is among those who allegedly handed money over to Young, thinking it would be legitimately invested.  

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