Straight Outta James Bond: CA Suspect Tries to Evade FBI Capture With Underwater Scooter

(Jonathan Olley/Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures/Columbia Pictures/EON Productions via AP)

Maybe this is plot point straight out of the new, yet to be released James Bond flick, “No Time To Die”; it for sure falls under the category of truth that is stranger than fiction, and most definitely rates as Peak 2020:


“A man wanted for his role in an alleged $35 million Ponzi scheme was arrested Monday after evading FBI agents by swimming into California’s largest reservoir using an underwater “sea scooter,” federal prosecutors said.

“Matthew Piercey spent nearly 30 minutes in frigid Lake Shasta using the Yamaha 350Li submersible device before he eventually resurfaced and was handcuffed, the Sacramento Bee reported.”

Last week, a grand jury indicted Piercey and his business partner Kenneth Winton with wire fraud, mail fraud, money laundering and witness tampering through their companies, Family Wealth Legacy and Zolla. The U.S. Attorney’s Office said he defrauded investors of about $35 million. Piercey and Winton used about $8.8 million of the money to pay other investors in a “Ponzi scheme.”

According to Mercury News,

“Much of the rest they used for ‘various business and personal expenses, including two residential properties and a houseboat,’ the news release said, adding: ‘Few, if any, liquid assets remain to repay investors.’ “

This adventure took place near Redding, California; when you’re driving on the 5 Freeway and you blink, you may miss it. Lake Shasta is usually a quiet, pristine, man-made body of water where people sail, fish, and water ski. Piercey has permanently shattered that image.

“Officers had sought to take Piercey into custody near his home in Palo Cedro, a few miles east of Redding. He eluded them, speeding through a residential neighborhood, occasionally going off-road, and then along Interstate 5 to the lake.

“He had an underwater scooter, also known as a diver propulsion vehicle: a battery-powered submersible device that can tow a person at 3 or 4 mph. The Yamaha model Piercey used weighs 19 pounds and sells for about $1,200.

He remained in the water for about 25 minutes and was apprehended when he emerged. Paramedics determined he was not suffering from hypothermia, and agents brought him dry clothes they had obtained from his wife, the report said.


The report says that the FBI could only see bubbles, and that’s how they knew he was still there. You cannot make this stuff up.

Piercey faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and fines of at least $250,000 to $500,000 for each count. He will not be released on bail, as he is considered a flight risk.

Do tell.

If Piercey is convicted, when he gets to the prison yard at Club Fed he can introduce himself this way: “Piercey. Matthew Piercey.”

In the season of giving, sales of Yamaha 350Li‘s will more than likely go through the roof. You can’t pay for that advertising.


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