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Ponzi Schemes

This archive displays posts tagged as relevant to Ponzi and pyramid schemes. You may also be interested in the following pages:

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October 15, 2019

Fabio Bretas de Freitas and Phy Capital Investments LLC have been ordered to pay over $17 million for their roles in $7 million Ponzi-like scheme.  To carry out the scheme, Bretas and Phy falsely represented that they had developed propriety software capable of netting a 49% profit on futures trading.  In addition to the monetary penalty, Bretas awaits sentencing in a related case out of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York; Bretas and Phy are also permanently banned from trading in CFTC-regulated markets.  CFTC

October 10, 2019

A Maryland-based man has been sentenced to 22 years in prison for his role in a $396 million Ponzi scheme, the largest ever charged in Maryland.  Unbeknownst to hundreds of victim investors, the consumer debt portfolios they invested in through Kevin Merrill and co-conspirators Jay Ledford and Cameron Jezierski were fake, with Merrill, Ledford, and Jezierski going to great lengths to keep up the illusion.  The trio created imposter companies and bank accounts, fake documents, and invited would-be investors to tours of their Texas “office.”  By the time they were arrested  in 2018, the scheme had raked in over $396 million, with another $260 million pending.  As part of his sentence, Merrill has also been ordered to pay restitution of at least $189 millionUSAO MD; SEC

September 13, 2019

The SEC has enjoined Kevin B. Merrill, Jay B. Ledford, and Cameron R. Jezierski from further violations of securities laws, based on their role in a $345 million offering fraud, through which they represented to investors that their funds would used to acquire and service debt portfolios, but instead used investor funds to make payments to earlier investors, and to fund their own extravagant lifestyles.  The SEC continues to investigate the Ponzi-like scheme, and a receiver has been appointed for the involved entities, Global Credit Recovery, LLC, Delmarva Capital, LLC, Rhino Capital Holdings, LLC, Rhino Capital Group, LLC, DeVille Asset Management LTD, and Riverwalk Financial CorporationSEC

August 29, 2019

Following a guilty plea, Treyton Lee Thomas was sentenced to over 21 years in prison and ordered to pay $14.6 million in restitution and forfeiture to the U.S. and victims of his investment fraud ponzi scheme.  Thomas's victims included his own father, his father's company, his wife, and his father-in-law. Thomas also pleaded guilty to income tax evasion, having failed to file returns for two decades, while using sham offshore entities to conceal his income.  USAO EDNC

August 20, 2019

The founder of Mantria Corporation, Troy Wragg, has been sentenced to 22 years in prison and ordered to pay $54 million in restitution for his role in a multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme.  Together with co-defendants Wayde McKelvy and Amanda Knorr, Wragg convinced investors across the country that they stood to gain returns of 50% or higher on their investments through Mantria, even coaching investors to take out loans so they could invest more in the company.  While awaiting sentencing for the Mantria fraud, Wragg committed a second fraud, causing an investor to lose her entire investment.  USAO EDPA

August 9, 2019

In a default judgment, Kevin Andre Perry and Lucrative Pips Corporation of Atlanta, Georgia were ordered to pay a civil penalty of $2 million and restitution of almost $700,000 with respect to their fraudulent marketing of a foreign exchange pool.  Defendants told prospective pool participants that their funds were “guaranteed” against trading losses and that their accounts would grow in value by 200% to 350% in less than 60 days.  Defendants then failed to return funds when customers tried to later withdraw them.  CFTC

May 23, 2019

Following his November 2018 conviction, Edwin Fujinaga was sentenced to 50 years in prison for his role in leading a $1.5 billion Ponzi scheme.  Fujinaga was also ordered to pay restitution of over $1 billion and forfeit more than $813 million.  Fujinaga solicited more than $1 billion in investments from residents of Japan, misrepresenting how the funds would be used.  USAO NV

May 3, 2019

The CFTC has filed a civil enforcement action against two men and their company, Berkley Capital Management, LLC (BCM), which operates two binary options trading pools, BBOT 1, LP and Berkley II, LP.  In order to open pool accounts with the North American Derivatives Exchange (NADEX), defendants Arie Bos of the Netherlands and William Caniff of the U.S. submitted false statements to conceal Caniff’s criminal background, then misappropriated at least $2.3 million from more than $4.8 million that was fraudulently solicited from the pools’ 62 participants.  CFTC

The Latest on Cryptocurrency, Offshore Tax Avoidance and Money-Laundering, and Whistleblowing: A Report from OffshoreAlert Miami 2019

Posted  05/3/19
Hanging Hundred Dollar Bills on Clothes Line
“A diverse collection of the hunters and the hunted.” That’s how the Wall Street Journal described the OffshoreAlert Conference in 2009. The 2019 conference was no different, bringing together those who work in the offshore industry, the government enforcers who try to stop the unscrupulous among them, and the asset recovery professionals who pursue lost funds. Alongside them were whistleblowers and their...

April 30, 2019

Brynee Baylor, a former D.C. attorney, was convicted for her role in a $2 million investment fraud scheme. Baylor and her co-conspirators recruited investors into a phony trading program which promised large profits in a short amount of time with little to no risk. Baylor faces five years in prison for the conspiracy count, 20 years for the securities fraud count, and 10 years in prison for each of the first-degree fraud counts. Sentencing has not yet been scheduled.   DOJ
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