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SEC Basketball Ref Fouls Out

Travis Correll wore the zebra shirt of a college basketball referee, working games in the Southeastern Conference (SEC).  When not officiating basketball games, he ran a prime bank scam that collected more than $29 million from hundreds of investors nationwide, before the other SEC-the Securities and Exchange Commission-shut the scheme down in December 2005.  
Correll will [...]

Travis Correll wore the zebra shirt of a college basketball referee, working games in the Southeastern Conference (SEC).  When not officiating basketball games, he ran a prime bank scam that collected more than $29 million from hundreds of investors nationwide, before the other SEC-the Securities and Exchange Commission-shut the scheme down in December 2005.  

Correll will trade in his basketball ref’s zebra shirt for the zebra shirt of a convict in federal prison.  U.S. District Judge Orinda Evans has sentenced him to 12 years in prison followed by three years of supervised release.  Echoing a warning that Investor’s Watchblog has been making for months, U.S. Attorney David E. Nahmias, said: 

The amounts of money we are seeing in some of these investment schemes is remarkable. This defendant is like many who use a Ponzi scheme to scam tens of millions from investors. Even though this defendant is going to federal prison, some of the money he stole is simply gone and probably will never be recovered.

Financial fraud has reached epidemic proportions.  Scam artists know that the leading edge of the baby boomer generation has begun retiring.  They will spare no effort and no resources to capture the 401k balances of as many baby boomers as possible. 

What makes these scam artists so dangerous is that they appear entirely credible. Think about it.  Correll could be seen on television several times a week enforcing the rules, blowing his whistle and imposing justice.  How much credibility did that give him when he approached investors with his Ponzi scheme?  How many of the victims substituted their “gut feeling” about the investment for an SEC-trained investigation that would have revealed the scam immediately and saved hundreds of investors tens of millions in losses?

U.S. Attorney Nahmias is right.  In this scheme and in every other, “some of the money . . . is simply gone and probably will never be recovered.”  Your only chance to make sure that your nest egg does not wind up in that category is before you invest.  Get an SEC-trained opinion about every unregistered investment-no matter how impressive the salesman-or be prepared to regret it later.

 

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