The Scam That Would Not Die

There is something about this scam that resists all efforts to defeat it.

When I finish writing this post, I will drive two exits south on Highway 400 to the annual SEC H0liday Party. It’s a nice gathering of current staff and alumni. It is fitting that I’m going to spend my afternoon at the SEC because that’s where I first learned about prime bank scams, the subject of this post. Although the scam was created in the 1950s, it had been all but dormant until it re-emerged in the early 1990s.  I had one of the first cases after that reemergence . The SEC put together a task force which succeeded in rounding up several such scams in a short period. But, once the task force was dissolved, prime bank scams came roaring back, and they haven’t flagged since. Today the SEC announced that it has shut down what it believes to be yet another prime bank scam, this one operating out of a Washington, D.C. law firm. According to the SEC’s press release: (more…)

An Alleged Ponzi Aimed at the 99 Percent

Scamsters who target middle income investors love the PowerPoint pitch.

For the most part, Bernie Madoff’s victims were rich; hedge fund frauds typically target the wealthy. The dozens of pension funds that will lose money to a Madoff-like fraud this year have billions to invest. From a scamster’s perspective, this makes sense. You can’t steal money from those who don’t have it. But, the rich aren’t the only victims of investment fraud. As we discuss in The Vigilant Investor, there is a scam for every income level. An SEC enforcement action out of the nation’s capital highlights an alleged scam that targeted middle class investors. According to the SEC’s press release: (more…)

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