UPDATED: Racing Con Man Pippin Arrested; Investigators Seek Potential Victims
Jonathan Pippin, subject of a 2014 article in the Paulick Report alleging a variety of deceitful practices in the horse industry, was arrested by federal authorities last Friday and is being held in Santa Ana, Calif.
Pippin appeared before a federal magistrate in Southern California on Tuesday and was denied bail, according to Mandala Investigations, Inc., a San Dimas, Calif., firm that is representing some of the alleged fraud victims and has been working with federal prosecutors. The firm said Pippin was charged with wire fraud and money laundering and will be extradited to his native Ohio. A public defender was appointed to handle his case.
Pippin, a licensed horse owner who was active on Twitter as a gambler and tout under the name @BacksideTips, sold fractional shares in horses, some of which he apparently didn't own. He enticed a number of professional athletes in Cleveland to invest in a short-lived racing stable that he managed and convinced a sportswriter in his hometown paper of Logan, Ohio, to write a story about his success with horses, including a Kentucky Derby contender to which he had no actual connection.
A number of people spoke to the Paulick Report about Pippin's activities, saying they invested money in his horses and never received receipts, bills of sale, or invoices for training costs or other expenses. Many tried to get their money back, feeling they had been conned, and in some cases he returned a portion or all of their money. A number of investors said they were cheated. At least two states, Ohio and Kentucky, put a “stop” on his owner's license.
Pippin has allegedly worked different kinds of confidence games in 2015, including collecting money on high-end tickets for sporting events – among them the Kentucky Derby – then failing to produce the tickets. He is the defendant in at least two lawsuits in Ohio, but plaintiffs have been unable to serve papers against him.
For much of 2015, Pippin has been based in Southern California and Las Vegas, allegedly using different aliases, including Jon or Jonathan Hughes, Jo Michael, and Jonathan Pittman.
Mandala Investigations Inc. of San Dimas, Calif., has been working with federal authorities on behalf of some of Pippin's alleged victims, and they are seeking information from anyone who feels they may have been victimized by him.
Mandala Investigations can be contacted at (877) 290-3131 or firstname.lastname@example.org