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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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April 9, 2019

Antonio Carlos de Godoy Buzaneli of Florida was sentenced to 20 years in prison for his role in a scheme that raised approximately $150 million from investors for his company Providence Holdings International, Inc., which Buzaneli represented would invest in the factoring of accounts receivable in Brazil. In fact, much of the investors’ funds were used to make Ponzi-style payments to other investors, and to make commission payments to Providence’s nationwide network of brokers. USAO Minn

April 2, 2019

After being charged in 2017, Thomas Lanzana, Blackbox Pulse, LLC, Nikolay Masanko, and White Cloud Mountain, LLC have been ordered to pay more than $2.7 million in restitution and civil penalties in connection with their marketing of a foreign exchange trading scheme through which they fraudulently solicited and accepted funds from customers for the purported purpose of trading forex in a commodity pool.  In fact, defendants misappropriated customers' funds, fabricated account statements, and misrepresented trades and balances.  CFTC

March 21, 2019

A hedge fund manager in Boston was sentenced to 14 years in prison for running a multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme from 2009 to 2017. Raymond Montoya, who ran RMA Strategic Opportunity Fund, LLC, was accused of misrepresenting the fund's rate of returns to induce millions of dollars in investments from unsuspecting victims across three states, including family, friends, and acquaintances. Montoya only invested a portion of the money – the rest was diverted to other bank accounts and used to pay personal expenses. USAO MA

February 21, 2019

Precious metals dealer Hannes Tulving, Jr. and The Tulving Company, Inc., have been ordered to pay a civil monetary penalty of $15.7 million, having been charged with fraudulent solicitation and misappropriation in 2015.  Between 2013 and 201, defendants fraudulently held themselves out as a reputable dealer in gold, silver, platinum, and palladium bullion and coins, soliciting more than $150 million in funds from 381 people.  Tulving then misappropriated funds for unauthorized uses and failed to purchase or deliver the metals to customers.  In 2016, Tulving was sentenced to 30 months in prison.  CFTC

January 28, 2019

The Woodbridge Group of Companies LLC and its former owner Robert H. Shapiro have been ordered to pay $1 billion in penalties and disgorgement for operating a ponzi scheme targeting retail investors, including many retirees, through 281 related companies.  Shapiro was ordered to pay a $100 million civil penalty and disgorge $18.5 million in ill-gotten gains; the companies were ordered to disgorge $892 million.  SEC

December 10, 2018

Steven Pagartanis pled guilty to conspiring to commit mail and wire fraud for orchestrating a Ponzi scheme that ran for 18 years. Pagartanis solicited elderly victims by guaranteeing a fixed return of 4.5 to 8 percent annually in real estate-related investments. Pagartanis directed his victims to make checks payable to an entity he secretly controlled and then utilized a network of bank accounts to launder the stolen funds, which he used to pay for exorbitant personal expenses and to cover purported “interest” payments. Pagartanis’ scheme resulted in actual losses of over $9 million and many of his victims lost substantial portions of their life savings. A civil case against Pagartanis has also been filed by the SEC. DOJ

November 28, 2018

Edwin Fujinaga, the former president and CEO of MRI International, Inc., which purported to be a medical collections and investment company, was convicted after a five-week trial for his role in a $1.5 billion ponzi scheme. Fujinaga solicited investments from over 10,000 Japanese residents, promising investors that their funds would be used to purchase medical debt. In fact, less than two percent of investor funds were used to purchase medical claims.  Fujinaga diverted the remainder for personal use and to pay off earlier investors.  In 2013, the Japanese government revoked MRI's license to market securities.  USAO NV Subsequent sentencing.

November 16, 2018

The CFTC and State of Utah have charged Rust Rare Coin, Inc. (RRC) and owner Gaylen Dean Rust for their roles in a precious metals Ponzi scheme. According to the DOJ press release, beginning in 2008 until only just recently, Rust fraudulently obtained over $170 million for RRC by lying to at least 200 investors in at least 17 states to get them to invest money in a silver pool. Investors were told the company's silver holdings amounted to between $77 to $80 million, and they stood to gain between 20-40% profit each year as a result of RRC’s buying and selling strategy. In reality, however, the defendants did not have nearly as much silver and were using investor contributions to pay other investors, as well as personal expenses. CFTC, UT AG

October 30, 2018

A Mississippi man has been sentenced to almost 20 years in prison for defrauding 320 investors in 14 states of more than $165.5 million dollars in what is being called the largest Ponzi scheme to come out of that state. From 2011 to 2018, Arthur Lamar Adams told investors that his company, Madison Timber Properties, LLC, bought and sold timber rights and that investments would go toward financing contracts with lumber mills. To further the scheme, he falsified timber deeds, forged signatures, and created fraudulent documents for investors. USAO SDMS

October 17, 2018

A former financial advisor turned online sportswear retailer has been convicted of numerous counts of fraud for running a $20 million Ponzi scheme. Between 2014 and 2017, Dawn Bennett allegedly convinced investors to invest in her company, DJB Holdings, by misrepresenting its financial health and the investment risks. With the money she obtained from 46 investors, many of them elderly, Bennett paid legal expenses and repaid earlier investors. After the fraud was discovered, Bennett allegedly arranged to have priests in India perform protective spells on her behalf. Unfortunately for her, the spells did not work as intended, and she now faces a lifetime in prison. USAO MD
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