Federal courthouse
Federal courthouse in downtown San Diego. Photo by Chris Stone

A Carlsbad man has been charged with taking millions of dollars from investors in what federal prosecutors say was a Ponzi scheme.

Richard Lee Ramirez, 53, was indicted by a grand jury for allegedly taking money investors gave him for his company JMJ Capital Group and spending it on personal items such as “luxury cars, travel, potential real-estate transactions” and more.

He also allegedly used investor money to pay back other investors, typical of a Ponzi scheme.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Ramirez told dozens of investors that JMJ was involved in a variety of business ventures, including buying and reselling personal protective equipment, factoring accounts receivable, importing and selling furniture and refurbishing air conditioning units for cruise ships.

He allegedly told victims that their investments would yield healthy returns and lied to investors by stating they could withdraw their money at any time.

Ramirez also allegedly sent victims documents “that furthered his fraud by falsely representing returns and the value of investments with JMJ,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, which said Ramirez stole at least $5 million of the $8 million or more he received from investors.

Ramirez, who is charged with securities fraud and money laundering, was arrested near Mira Mesa on Friday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

City News Service contributed to this article.