Riders rocked: Motorcycle community feels hit by ponzi

Racing posters and trophies adorn the office of suspected ponzi schemer John M. Donnelly.

The alleged Bernie Madoff-styled fraud that has rocked Charlottesville's financial community may have had an even more devastating role among the motorcycle road racing world, which suspected Ponzi schemer John Donnelly used to inhabit.

A report on roadracingworld.com names Sam Fleming as the Donnelly acquaintance who contacted the SEC after a friend and fellow Donnelly investor alerted him that he'd been unable to cash out. The article notes that while Donnelly may have had some big time investors, many others handed over smaller amounts hoping that Donnelly's promise of big returns would help them build a nest egg.

Reached by email, Fleming, who according to his online bio is president of a Silver Spring, Maryland medical consulting business, "Wild Card Editor" for Road Racing World magazine, and a champion motorcycle endurance racer, calls the situation "an enormous tragedy for Donnelly, his family, his friends, his investors and the entire Charlottesville community."

He also notes that "there is nothing unique or special in this case" and says the allegations against Donnelly, if true, amount to "just a typical pyramid scheme that ran its sad course through a tight knit group of otherwise business savvy friends."

While the SEC has come under fire for failing to discover the Madoff scheme despite numerous alerts over many years, Fleming says he has been  "deeply impressed by the diligence and coordination of the five federal agencies involved in this process."

Fleming adds that he is cooperating with authorities to  "clean up the considerable mess of finances and lives left behind."

Donnelly remains behind bars at the Central Virginia Regional Jail awaiting a preliminary hearing on Thursday, March 19 at 1:30pm.


money money money money...

i know these guys...

i rode with these guys...

life's a trip...

yeah, that poor Ponzi guy.

All the great memories & goodwill he built up in Happy Days, only to have his name repeatedly dragged thru the mud by a bunch of money-grubbing schmoes... ;^)

Donnelly is NOT a nerd! He's a dren! Funny how things turn out: Ponzi arrested to theft, Richie a world-class director, and Ralph Malph in "Celebrity Boxing."