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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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September 12, 2022

A man who operated a Ponzi scheme that procured over $5 million from victims in Puerto Rico and the continental U.S. has been sentenced to over 11 years in prison and ordered to pay nearly $2 million in restitution to 46 victims.  Carlos Maldonado was found to have misrepresented his companies as legitimate businesses, and failed to disclose to investors that their funds would be used for his own purposes, including buying and trading stocks on his personal accounts, and paying off personal auto loans payments.  USAO PR

July 28, 2022

Jaeson Birnbaum, disbarred attorney and owner of now-bankrupt litigation finance firm, Cash4Cases, will spend 3 years in prison for defrauding investors, in addition to paying over $2.6 million in restitution, and forfeiting another $2.6 million in fraud proceeds. Birnbaum offered sham “Investor Security Agreements,” allowing investors to share in recoveries from lawsuits supposedly purchased by Cash4Cases. Birnbaum netted over $3 million in investors’ funds through his fraud, misappropriated client funds for personal use, and directed his employee to falsify the company’s books and records to show already-paid-out funds as still available to be pledged as collateral to new investors. USAO SDNY

July 11, 2022

Attorney Shimon Rosenfeld was ordered to pay over $7 million in disgorgement and prejudgment interest and will spend 6 months in prison for defrauding real estate investors. For a period of nearly four years, from May 2014 to March 2018, Rosenfeld solicited investors for a pooled real estate investment fund whose profits would be split with the investors. Instead, Rosenfeld misappropriated the funds to trade securities in his personal brokerage account, resulting in a $6 million loss of investor funds. SEC

June 28, 2022

Paulette Carpoff will spend over 11 years in prison for her role in DC Solar’s billion-dollar Ponzi scheme. Between 2011 and 2018, DCS manufactured and sold trailer-mounted mobile solar generators, using the available federal solar tax credit to lure investors. In a leaseback arrangement, investors paid a percentage of the cost and financed the rest via DCS. Instead, DCS paid early investors with new investors’ money. Carpoff controlled the Ponzi-like payments, generated fake engineering reports for nonexistent MSGs, and lied to investors about DCS’ success. Carpoff enjoyed the spoils of the fraud, which included over 150 luxury and collector vehicles, lavish jewelry, and a private subscription jet service. USAO EDCA

May 23, 2022

Art dealer Inigo Philbrick will spend 7 years in prison and forfeit over $86 million for defrauding investors to finance his art business. Over a 3-year period, from 2016 through 2019, Philbrick misrepresented the ownership of certain artworks, selling multiple ownership interests in an artwork totaling more than 100%; created fraudulent contracts and records to further the scheme; made material misrepresentations and omissions to collectors, investors, and lenders; and sold or used artworks as collateral on loans without the knowledge of the artworks’ co-owners. The fraud was eventually exposed when investors learned of the fraudulent records and material misrepresentations Philbrick had made, and a lender notified Philbrick that he was in default on a $14 million loan. USAO SDNY

May 4, 2022

Brenda Smith, former investment manager for Broad Reach Capital LP, pleaded guilty to seven counts of securities fraud. She will pay $47.2 million in restitution, spend 109 months in prison, and spend another 3 years thereafter under supervised release, for orchestrating a $100 million securities fraud scheme. To further her fraud, Smith provided investors with false monthly account statements, made false representations about her personal investment in the company, satisfied redemption requests by diverting other investors’ funds to pay the redemption amounts, and transferred clients’ funds to investments that were outside the scope of the promised investment strategy. NJ USAO

April 15, 2022

Damon Elliott, and his entity Piptastic Limited will pay almost $6.5 million in disgorgement and interest, and a civil penalty of nearly $100,000 for his promotion of a Ponzi scheme in violation of the antifraud provisions of the Securities Act and the Securities Exchange Act. Elliott, through Piptastic, misused investor assets, lied about the status of their investments, provided fabricated account statements, and lied about investors’ funds being safely held in trading accounts. In addition to the disgorgement and interest levied against Elliott, Piptastic is enjoined from further violations of the Securities Act and the Securities Exchange Act.  SEC

April 12, 2022

Robert A. Karmann, a CPA and former CFO of DC Solar, was sentenced to 6 years in prison and ordered to pay $624 million for his role in perpetrating a Ponzi-style scheme, by taking new investor money to pay older investors, and deploying circular transactions to cover up their illicit behavior. DC Solar manufactured trailer-mounted solar generators and marketed them as having extensive third-party lease demand. Karmann and his co-conspirators offered falsified financial statements and operation reports and provided fabricated revenue summaries to victims of the scheme. Karmann oversaw the hidden transfers of funds, gave false information to investor representatives, and instructed a subordinate to “make it up” when asked by a customer for reports on the location of their solar generators. USAO EDCA

April 8, 2022

Danish resident Casper Mikkelsen, also known as Carsten Nielsen, Brian Thomson, Thomas Jensen, and Casper Muller, has been ordered to pay $1.2 million in restitution and $3.6 million in penalties after he was found to have misappropriated client funds for his personal use, used earlier investor funds to pay later investors, and failed to register as a commodity trading advisor.  Mikkelsen’s victims had believed they were investing their funds to trade in forex.  CFTC

February 14, 2022

Zachary Joseph Horwitz, 35, of Los Angeles, CA will spend 20 years in federal prison and was ordered to pay over $230 million in restitution. Horwitz raised $650 million from over 250 investors in his Ponzi scheme—investors who were lied to about future licensing and distribution agreements with online platforms such as Netflix and HBO. Horwitz operated his Ponzi scheme via 1inMM Capital, duping five major groups of private investors through hundreds of 6- and 12-month promissory notes, which he defaulted on. Horwitz initiated the scheme in 2014, and it remained active until his arrest by the FBI in April 2021. USAO CDCA
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