More Alleged Free Spending Ponzi Scamsters

Your brain will enjoy thinking about itself.

There’s been an international flavor to the posts this week. The CFTC helps us continue the trend. The CFTC has filed charges against several individuals and related companies, alleging that they ran a Ponzi scheme constructed around supposed foreign currency trading. The CFTC’s press release about the case reads as follows: (more…)

No Honor Among Thieves

There is a food chain in the investment fraud world, and they don’t mind eating their own.

Believe it or not, it isn’t unusual for Ponzi scamsters to fall victim to investment fraud. HoustonPress is reporting that Robert Copeland, serving more than 121 months for taking $45 million from 125 people, lost $10 million to a foreign currency scam. According to the HoustonPress report: (more…)

Another Forex Ponzi Scheme?

We are seeing an uptick in foreign currency scams because the stock market has bounced back from its lows of two years ago.

The Money Wise Guys is a radio show in Kern County, California. Broadcasting from the studios of KERN in Bakersfield, the hosts take calls from investors and answer their questions about investing. I’ve appeared on the show several times, and the hosts always ask me what’s hot in investment fraud. Last week I told them that foreign currency scams are raging. Almost on cue the U.S. Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) took emergency enforcement action to shut down an alleged ongoing foreign currency scam. According to FuturesMag.com: (more…)

Another Drop in the New Wave of Fraud?

This new wave of scams is harder to detect and threatens, one day, to make us think of Bernie Madoff as small time.

Last week, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) filed an enforcement action charging Juvenal Eduardo Machado and his company, Invers Forex LLC with defrauding at least 28 investors out of $786,000. The CFTC will file hundreds of such actions this year. Two factors earn this relatively small case a mention on this blog: (1) the timing of the alleged scheme, and (2) the method of the alleged fraud. According to the CFTC: (more…)

Alpha One Trading System Revealed as a Fraud

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of characters like Watson operating today.

Investors with Robert David Watson of Spring, Texas, believed that they had chosen a winner.  Watson represented that he had developed a foreign currency trading model that he called Alpha One.  He drew investors by telling them that the model had earned good returns since 2000 and had never had a down month. This week, Watson pled guilty to securities fraud and admitted that his entire operation was a fraud.  He stole tens of millions of dollars from scores of investors.  According to  the FBI: (more…)

Unrepentant Con Men Who Wrapped Themselves in a Bible Story Sentenced to Decades in Prison

Please understand that you have the power to do what regulators, alone, cannot. You can stop a prospective multi-million scam in its tracks and save the nest eggs of countless retirees.

The three men wrapped themselves in the Biblical story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who survived Nebudchanezzer’s furnace after refusing to bow down to an idol.  According to Investment News, calling themselves the “Three Hebrew Boys,” Timothy McQueen, Joseph Brunson, and Tony Pough: (more…)

$40 Million North Carolina Ponzi

And what you think of when you visualize the threat to your nest egg is a caricature, not the real thing.

Keith Franklin Simmons bought almost $5 million in real estate.  He invested in a company that promoted ultimate fighting tournaments.  He traveled by private jet, and paid for breast-augmentation surgery for several of the women who traveled with him. According to a jury in North Carolina, he paid for those things with some of the $40 million he stole from more than 400 investors. (more…)

What If Your Adviser Has Been Duped?

There are red flags that you would not recognize as such if they were flapping in your face.

The annals of investment catastrophe are full of investors who relied on the advise of experts only to learn that the experts had been duped. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has filed an enforcement action in a case that may be yet another example of that phenomena. Specifically the SEC has charged Clifton K. Oram, Don C. Winkler and William R. Michael with fraud, alleging that they sold several million dollars in a foreign currency exchange trading (“Forex”) program issued by a Mexican entity known as MexGroup or MexBank. According to the SEC’s press release: (more…)

Turks and Caicos Returns Alleged Investment Fraudster

Scam artists love people who think they are too smart to fall for a scam. They are the easiest pigeons to pluck.

David A. Smith thought he had it all figured out.  When he collected $220 million from hundreds of investors by telling them he would earn a healthy return from foreign currency trading, he established his enterprise off-shore, first in Jamaica and then in the Turks and Caicos Islands.  But, he found out that they have anti-fraud laws offshore as well.  He was serving a six and one-half year sentence for fraud in the Turks and Caicos, when that nation granted a request from the U.S. Justice Department to return Smith to the U.S. to stand trial on charges stemming from his alleged foreign currency scam.  He is now in prison in Orlando, awaiting arraignment. (more…)

CFTC Shuts Down Alleged Forex Scam

Investing in a cleverly disguised scam guarantees a negative 100 percent return. The search for good returns must, therefore, begin with an investigation to gauge the fraud risk.

Last week, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) charged Ronald E. Satterfield of Charleston, South Carolina, his  companies, Graham Street Forex Group, LLC and Shore-2-Summit Financial, LLC, and Nicholas Bos of Ludington, Michigan., with raising more than $3.3 million from more than 70 investors through a fraudulent foreign currency (forex) Ponzi scheme.  According to the CFTC’s press release: (more…)

CFTC Finds Alleged Ponzi in Ohio

Investment schemes involving supposed trading in foreign currency are always out there.

Most of the enforcement cases we report on come from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or state securities regulators.  But the U.S. Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) also has an effective enforcement division on the lookout for investment fraud.  This week the CFTC announced an enforcement action against what it believes to be a multi-million Ponzi scheme operating on both sides of the U.S./Canadian border.  The CFTC’s press release reads, in part: (more…)

Repentant James Bond Draws Five Years Probation

In fact, Eisner and MacCaull simply pocketed investors’ money, sending phony account statements to convince their victims that Razor FX was legitimate and profitable.

James Bond drove an Aston Martin and spent a lot of time in casinos.  He has that in common with Bradley D. Eisner, the mastermind behind a Ponzi scheme that, between 2001 and 2008, took in more than $110 million from 272 investors.  Eisner and his partner in crime, Michael R. MacCaull, told investors that their company, Razor FX, made money by trading currency options.  In fact, Eisner and MacCaull simply pocketed investors’ money, sending phony account statements to convince their victims that Razor FX was legitimate and profitable.  In addition to his Aston Martin and his casino jaunts, Eisner used investor money to buy a $3 million home on Long Island and artworks by Picasso and Willem De Kooning. (more…)

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