SEC Halts $23 Million Ponzi Scheme
The Securities and Exchange Commission announced moments ago that it has halted a $23 million Ponzi scheme aimed at Haitian-Americans.
According to the SEC, a man named George L. Theodule began cheating investors as early as November 2007, urging them to form investor clubs that would channel money to his appropriately named Creative Capital Consortium and another one called Creative Capital Concept$.
Reads the SEC release: "Theodule solicited investors by guaranteeing a 100 percent return on their investment within 90 days based on his claimed successful trading of stocks and options.
Investors also were promised that Creative Capital's trading profits were being used to fund new business ventures, including some to benefit the Haitian community in the U.S., Haiti and Sierra Leone.
The SEC alleges that Theodule has lost at least $18 million trading stocks and options just over the last year, and Creative Capital merely repaid earlier investors with monies collected from new investors in typical Ponzi scheme fashion."
The SEC obtained an emergency court order to stop the scheme.
"This alleged Ponzi scheme preyed upon unsuspecting members of a close-knit community, attempting to take advantage of the trust they had in each other," said Linda Chatman Thomsen, director of the SEC's Division of Enforcement. "As always, investors need to be wary of investment opportunities that guarantee results and tout extraordinary returns."
David Nelson, director of the SEC's Miami regional office, said: "This case demonstrates that individuals will often rely on a shared affinity to gain investors' trust. In this case, Theodule allegedly abused that trust to con thousands of investors in the Haitian-American community."
The SEC is under fire for ignoring warnings about another prominent Ponzi scheme -- Bernie Madoff's $50 billion gift.
December 30, 2008; 12:34 PM ET
Categories: The Ticker | Tags: Bernie Madoff, Ponzi, SEC
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