The SEC charged a Bethesda, Md. man, several family members and friends with conducting a multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme targeting investors in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area. The SEC alleges that middle-class residents were lured by false pretenses and powerpoint presentations to invest in promissory notes. Many were encouraged to refinance their homes and utilize their personal savings and retirement funds to come up with more to invest. They were promised returns as high as 20 percent per year and told their investments were protected. Instead, the companies issuing the notes were engaged in high-risk, speculative options trading and suffered massive losses. Money from new investors was used to pay the returns to earlier investors and also for personal expenses.
The SEC alleges that the Ponzi scheme defrauded more than $27 million from approximately 130 investors over a five year period. The scheme ultimately collapsed in the fall of 2010. The Bethesda man and five others have been charged.
SEC Charges Perpetrator of Washington-Area Ponzi Scheme