Man Attempting Bond-Like Underwater Escape From FBI Caught From Water Bubbles

by : Cameron Frew on : 18 Nov 2020 10:51
CBS13 Sacramento

A man tried to escape the FBI using an underwater ‘scooter’. If only it weren’t for the bubbles.

Matthew Piercey had been under investigation by the FBI for more than a year, with agents following his company, Family Wealth Legacy, which was an alleged $35 million Ponzi scheme.


The 44-year-old led agents on a long chase, before eventually submersing himself underwater in a bid to evade capture. Unfortunately, he wasn’t as discreet as he hoped.

Check out the local news report below: 


As reported by CBS13, agents pursued Piercey through neighborhoods and along highways in Redding, California. Later, a helicopter caught sight of the suspect swimming into Lake Shasta, armed with a Yamaha sea scooter.


Court documents explained: 

Law enforcement tracked Piercey’s vehicle from the air during the chase. Then, Piercey abandoned his truck near the edge of Lake Shasta, pulled something out of it, and swam into Lake Shasta. Piercey spent some time out of sight underwater where law enforcement could only see bubbles.

The suspect reportedly stayed underwater for around 25 minutes, before emerging from the lake with his Yamaha submersible device.

Seascooters UKSeascooter UK

Yamaha sea scooters are described as a ‘vehicle with underwater propulsion that allows users to cruise at depths of 100ft below the surface’ at speeds of around 4mph.

Attorney Josh Kons said, ‘You know, you never know what is going through someone’s mind when they’re being pursued by the FBI. And we kept investigating, and all of a sudden today, here he is trying to escape into a lake, using a submersible device.’

Piercey has been charged with wire fraud, mail fraud, money laundering and witness tampering, and was indicted by a grand jury alongside his business partner Kenneth Winton earlier this month.

FBI Underwater Escape SuspectCBS13

According to The Sacramento Bee, only $8.8 million was paid back to investors, with other money going towards ‘various business and personal expenses, including two residential properties and a houseboat’. Little money remains to compensate other investors.

The documents explained: 

Piercey marketed something called the ‘Upvesting Fund’ as an automated algorithmic trading fund with a history of success and accepted money from numerous investors for supposed investment… however, Piercey admitted to an associate in October 2018: ‘Upvesting has not taken one penny.’

A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent enterprise in which early investors benefit from the money of later investors. However, as the system can’t go on indefinitely, those later investors always end up losing large sums of cash, with no returns.


Piercey is currently being held in Sacramento County jail without bail.

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Cameron Frew

After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BJTC-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He's now left his Scottish homelands and taken up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.

Topics: News, California, escape, FBI, Now, US


CBS13 and 1 other
  1. CBS13

    Suspect Wanted By FBI Attempts Underwater Escape On Sea Scooter

  2. The Sacramento Bee

    Ponzi scheme suspect flees into frigid California lake using underwater ‘sea scooter’