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Shmuck of the Week: Shawn Merriman, aka the Mormon Madoff

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An early front-runner for Shmuck of the Year,

Shawn Merriman this week was officially charged for his orchestration of a massive Ponzi scheme

that made him rich, left friends and investors broke, and had Bernie Madoff saying to his prison boyfriend, "Hey, this guy stole my moves!"

Merriman, 46, is a former lay bishop in the Mormon church, which is weird, because religious leaders are usually all pious and whatnot. He is accused of operating a Ponzi scheme for more than fifteen years, bilking $20 million from close to forty friends and acquaintances, including many fellow Mormons. Federal prosecutors charged him with mail fraud (that's what all white-collar scumbags go down for) along with three counts of impersonating an obnoxious rich guy. He pleaded not guilty, the Denver Post reported but is expected to strike a plea deal with prosecutors. He will spend years in prison, but not enough.

As money poured in from investors, Merriman amassed gaudy possessions, including, according to the Post, "193 paintings and works of art; 27 vehicles, including a 1937 Cord and a 1930 Lincoln; 34 rifles, shotguns and handguns; and baseball memorabilia, including a glove autographed by Lou Gehrig," which he probably played catch with, the asshole. He did not, sadly, accidentally shoot himself with any of the handguns or suffocate himself with the signature of Gehrig before they were seized by authorities.

His is, for obvious reasons, our Shmuck of the Week.

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