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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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November 21, 2019

Jin K. Chung was sentenced to 10 years in prison following his guilty plea on charges related to a foreign exchange trading scam he created and ran.  Chung started two companies, SNC Asset Management, Inc., and SNC Investments, Inc., advertising them as highly successful foreign exchange trading firms and promising investors annual returns between 24% and 36%.  Hundreds of individual investors opened accounts with SNC; Chung deposited their money bank accounts he controlled and sent them phony statements.  In his guilty plea, Chung acknowledged that more than 400 victims lost over $60 million as a result of his scam.  Chung was originally charged in 2009, but not extradited from South Korea until 2019.  USAO ND Cal

October 29, 2019

The co-defendant of a man recently sentenced for orchestrating the largest Ponzi scheme ever charged in Maryland has been sentenced to 14 years in prison and ordered to pay at least $189 million in restitution.  To facilitate the scheme to sell fake consumer debt portfolios, Jay Ledford create fake sales agreements, tax returns, and other documents to co-defendant Kevin Merrill, knowing they would be used to defraud investors.  When the two were arrested in 2018 with fellow co-conspirator Cameron Jezierski, the five-year scheme had already raked in over $396 million, with only 14% actually used to purchase consumer debt portfolios.  USAO MD

October 29, 2019

The orchestrator and four promoters of a pyramid and Ponzi scheme has been ordered to pay almost $11 million for defrauding at least 1,400 Spanish and Portuguese-speaking investors.  According to an earlier press release from the SEC, ringleader Daniel Fernandes Rojo Filho’s company, DFRF Enterprises, LLC, allegedly told investors that it operated more than 50 gold mines in Brazil and Africa.  In reality, the company did not actually mine gold and its $15 million in revenues came solely from recruiting new members as investors, with earlier investors paid commissions in a Ponzi-like fashion.  Filho alone will pay over $10 million of the monetary judgment; his four associates will each pay between $100,00 and $266,000.  SEC

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
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