Articles Posted in Ponzi Scams

According to New Jersey’s Attorney General’s Office and Division of Consumer Affairs, JB Financial Resources and its owner Jeffrey Mitchell Isaacs must pay a $750K for allegedly selling NJ investors over $7M in unregistered securities connected to the $1.2B Woodbridge Ponzi Scam. More than 8,500 people are said to have been defrauded nationally in that scheme before its demise last year.

The state of New Jersey contends that JB Financial Resources and Isaacs sold about 88 unregistered securities on behalf of the Woodbridge Group of Companies. Isaac’s other entity, JMI Associates  LLC, is also accused of promoting and selling unregistered investments, including first position commercial mortgage securities (FPCMs)  tied to Woodbridge in NJ.

Marketing collateral touted the unregistered securities as a “unique lending opportunity.” Sale proceeds would reportedly be used by the Woodbridge Funds to issue commercial loans to commercial borrowers. Instead, the FPCMs sold to NJ investors were not collateralized right away. In certain instances, borrowers did not get the loans for weeks or months after investors bought them.


Michael Scronic Pleads Guilty in Ponzi Scheme

Michael Scronic, who touted himself as the hedge fund manager of the unregistered Scronic Macro Fund, has agreed to a US Securities and Exchange Commission ban permanently blocking him from buying or selling securities. In a parallel criminal case, Scronic pleaded guilty to securities fraud that involved 45 victims in his over $22M hedge fund fraud. His victims who suffered significant investment fraud losses included acquaintances, relatives, and friends. According to Bloomberg, investors gave him amounts ranging from $23K to $2.4M to invest.

Prosecutors contend that Scronic lied about his investment fund’s performance, touting returns of up to 13% when, in reality, the fund suffered millions of dollars in losses. About $500K, also from investors, was used to fund his own expenses, including a $12K/month New York rental, mortgage payments on a Vermont vacation home, country club and beach club membership fees, and about $15K/month in credit card expenses. The investment scam went on from 2012 through June 2017.

Daniel Glick, a Chicago-Based investment adviser who bilked clients, including older investors, of $5.2M, has been sentenced to 151 months in prison. He also has to pay $5.2M in restitution. Glick’s Ponzi-like fraud took place between 2011 and 2016.

Glick, who is the owner of Glick Accounting Services Inc., Financial Management Strategies Inc., and Glick & Associates Ltd., pleaded guilty earlier this year to wire fraud. He told clients that not only would he invest their funds but also that he would pay their bills for them. He sent them account statements that were “false and misleading.”

Glick’s own family, including his wife’s parents, were among his victims. He defrauded them of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Another family paid him $700K in fees while he misappropriated hundreds of thousands of dollars. Clients’ funds were also used to pay two business associates.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission has filed fraud charges against investment adviser Amrit J.S. Chahal, who founded Kane Capital Investment Group, LLC. Chahal is accused of using his company to solicit about $1.4M from about 50 people, some of them friends and family members. Now, the regulator wants a permanent injunction, penalties, and disgorgement.

According to the SEC’s securities fraud complaint, from at least 2/2015, the investment advisor targeted prospective investors by telling them he was a seasoned trader who could make clients “above-market returns” by employing a trading strategy whose risks were low. In truth, contends the Commission, Chahal had no previous substantive experience in the securities industry or in trading securities for others.

Investors gave Chahal their money with the understanding that he would use the funds to buy and sell futures, options, and commodities. He told them they would have to pay a $2.5% yearly fee and a performance-based fee that was 10% of an investor’s returns that went beyond a yearly 30% return rate. Chahal also falsely claimed that Kane Capital employed the most current software to help it garner the “highest possible profit” from every investment, with a focus on choosing investments that were high-yield and low-risk. In truth, said the Commission, the accused investment advisor “traded risky options and margins,” as well as sold and purchased commodities and futures.

Man Accused of Targeting Religious Congregation Members Admits to $13M Fraud

Sung “Laurence” Hong has pleaded guilty to money laundering and wire fraud, as well as to pretending to be an investment adviser so he could bilk clients of almost $13M. His plea agreement states that Hong mostly targeted members of religious organizations.

This is not the first time Hong that was caught for investor fraud. He served three years in prison after defrauding a neighbor of about $800K. Now, he may end up back in jail for decades.

SEC Files Case Against Man Accused in $250K Ponzi Scam

The US Securities and Exchange Commission has filed charges against Niket Shah, who is accused of stealing over $250K from coworkers and friends in a Ponzi scam. The regulator’s case comes in the wake of complaints brought by investors.

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Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin has filed an administrative complaint accusing private equity fund ARO Equity LLC, Timothy James Alcott, and Thomas David Renison of running a Ponzi scam that bilked investors of over $5.8M. Most of their victims were senior investors in their 70’s and 80’s who were allegedly promised 8-12% yearly returns over three-to-five years for their purchase of mostly promissory notes.

According to the Massachusetts Regulator’s complaint, Renison, Alcott, and ARO Equity invested just half of investors’ funds, with most investments made sustaining substantial losses. They allegedly ran their scam out of a trailer park in the city of Peabody despite listing their address at the One International Place Tower in Boston. Meantime, the two men have purportedly paid themselves more than $1M since their alleged Ponzi scam began.

Renison, who allegedly made $710K, was barred from the securities industry by the US Securities and Exchange Commission in 2014 for promissory note fraud involving a client. He was ordered by a jury to pay a $1.4M judgment in that matter. A criminal charge for conspiring to commit wire fraud was brought against him in a parallel case that was dismissed following his cooperation and testimony against a co-conspirator.

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Us District Court Judge Kiyo Matsumoto has ruled that Martin Shkreli is going to be held responsible for $10.4M in financial losses sustained by investors after he is sentenced for his crimes. Shkreli, who was found guilty of two counts of securities fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud, had tried to argue that he wasn’t responsible for those losses, seeing as investors eventually profited when he partially paid them back with Retrophin stock while he was the CEO of that pharmaceutical company.

The fraud charges are related to his running of the investment funds MSMB Capital, Elea Capital, and MSMB Healthcare. Federal prosecutors accused him of bilking investors of more than $11M in a Ponzi scam. Shkreli also is accused of lying to investors, including failing to tell them when two of the hedge funds he operated failed. Prosecutors contend that Shkreli was the cause of somewhere between $9M and $20M in investor losses.

Judge Matsumoto’s ruling regarding Shkreli’s financial responsibility is more about determining the length of the recommended prison term he should get and not about how much he owes the government, along with his sentence. With this latest ruling, Shkreli could face up to 20 years behind bars. Previous to that, his defense attorneys were hoping to get him either no time in prison or under 16 months. However, the higher the loss involved in a crime, federal guidelines recommend the calculation of a longer prison term.

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Woodbridge to Appoint New Board to Run the Property Developer, Will Pay for Investor Fraud Lawyers
Woodbridge Group of Companies and the US Securities and Exchange Commission have come to an agreement that a New Board of Managers will be appointed to oversee the bankrupt property developer. The company, which is accused of running a $1.2B Ponzi scam, will pay for legal representation for its investors that continue to grapple with losses they may have sustained in the alleged fraud. Some 8,400 investors gave their money to Woodbridge.

Woodbridge owner Robert Shapiro is accused of owing over $961M to investors, many of them elderly investors, who purchased securities from the company while under the impression that they’d be guaranteed up to 8% interest. Investors were told that their money would be lent out to companies in exchange for up to 15% interest when, in fact, contends the SEC, these developers were entities that Shapiro himself controlled.

Shapiro, who is accused of taking at least $21M of investors’ funds to pay for his lavish lifestyle, denies the SEC’s allegations.

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Ex-CFO of ArthroCare Gets Prison Term for $750M Securities Fraud
Michael Gluck, the ex-CFO of ArthroCare Corp., is sentenced to over four years in prison for his role in a $750M financial fraud. Gluk pleaded guilty to securities fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud last year.

Gluk, ex-ArthroCare CEO Michael Baker, and others are accused of artificially inflating revenue and sales in an effort to keep the medical device company’s stock price up. As a result, shareholders sustained more than $750M in losses.

Baker was sentenced to 20 years behind bars. Gluk had previously been sentenced to 10 years in prison after he was convicted in 2014 for his role in the scam. However, a federal appeals court overturned the conviction, hence his new plea agreement and sentence. He also must forfeit nearly $678K and pay a $50K fine.

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Two Investment Advisers Accused of $20M Investor Scam
The US Securities and Exchange Commission has filed civil charges against investment advisors Ronald A. Fossum and Alonzo Cahoon. They are accused defrauding retail investors in an unregistered securities scam. According to the regulator, from about 3/2011 to 6/2016, Fossum raised over $20M from more than 100 investors via securities offerings in investment funds under his control or ownership, including the:

  • Accelerated Asset Group, LLC
  • Turnkey Investment Fund, LLC
  • Smart Money Secured Income Fund, LLC

Fossum is accused of misappropriated hundreds of thousands of dollars of investors’ money to pay his own expenses, including living in a home owned by one of the fund’s free of rent. He also allegedly used investor funds to pay for international travel and federal taxes.

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