The New York Times tells the story of Ty Schlobohm, 37, who worked as an informant for the FBI to expose a Ponzi scheme run by Trevor Cook of Minneapolis. Wired to record Cook's sales pitches and carrying a hidden camera, Schlobohm gathered evidence for at least four months as the Justice Department zeroed in on the scheme. Cook pleaded guilty to mail and tax fraud and was sentenced to 25 years in prison for orchestrating a $160 million swindle.
The Times said the financial losses that occurred even though authorities were closely monitoring Cook underscore the limitations of the system. While Schlobohm helped the FBI gather evidence at least $16 million flowed into Cook's fund and disappeared. The funds afforded Cook a lifestyle that included an expensive gambling habit, a collection of Fabergé eggs, fancy cars, and the construction of a casino in Panama. “There was a tremendous amount of guilt being there,” watching Cook lure investors, Schlobohm said.