Founder of Mantria Corp. sentenced in $54 million Ponzi scheme
PHILADELPHIA — United States Attorney William M. McSwain announced that Troy Wragg, 37, of Philadelphia, was sentenced today to 22 years in prison and $54 million restitution by United States District Judge Joel H. Slomsky for perpetrating two fraud schemes.
The defendant was the founder of Mantria Corporation, based in Bala Cynwyd. From 2005 until 2009, Wragg received approximately $54 million in funds from investors across the United States with the false promise that they would earn 50% or higher returns on their investments. The defendant told the victim investors that Mantria was a very successful company with investments in real estate and green energy. In reality, however, Mantria was a Ponzi scheme which used new investor funds to pay “earnings” to earlier investors.
Wragg, who worked in a Jim Thorpe restaurant for a short time, obtained these large investments through co-defendant Wayde McKelvy, who ran unlicensed investment clubs in Colorado. In addition to advising the victims to invest their retirement savings in Mantria, Wragg and McKelvy coached the victims to obtain home equity loans, credit card loans, and other loans to raise even more funds to invest in Mantria. Thus, when the Mantria Ponzi scheme collapsed, many of the victims were left financially devastated.
While on bail pending sentencing for the Mantria fraud, Wragg brazenly committed a second fraud scheme. The defendant solicited an investment in an online video dating service, known as LUVR, with the false representation that the company was about to be purchased by a well-known internet entrepreneur. In reality, no such deal ever existed and the victim lost her entire investment.
“Wragg and his co-conspirators talked a big game about their bogus trash-to-green-energy business, but it was all a lie. And when he was caught in this lie, he just couldn’t help himself and decided to scam yet another innocent investor,” said U.S. Attorney McSwain. “The defendant is clearly a danger to the public and deserves to be in prison for a very long time. My office thanks the court for delivering an appropriate sentence.”
Wragg pleaded guilty to both fraud schemes. Co-defendant Amanda Knorr also pleaded guilty to her role in the Mantria fraud and was sentenced in April 2019 to 30 months’ in prison. Co-defendant Wayde McKelvy was convicted on all counts at trial in October 2018. The court has not yet set a sentencing date for McKelvy.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation with assistance from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the Colorado Division of Securities, the Arizona Division of Securities, the Tennessee Department of Financial Institutions, and the Upper Darby Township Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Robert J. Livermore and Sarah M. Wolfe.