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Tag: ponzi

Former NBA Player Arrested in Suspected Financial Scam

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com
 
In the NCAA tournament of 1990, down by one point and nearing the final buzzer, Tate George caught a full-court pass, spun around once and released a 15-foot shot with one second left in the game. The ball dropped through the hoop and UConn beat Clemson by one point.

George went on to play four years in the NBA with the New Jersey Nets and the Milwaukee Bucks. But the memory of the old basketball glory may be marred by the athlete’s financial dealings under the auspices of the George Group. George surrendered to federal authorities this week, who allege he carried out a more than $2 million investment fraud scheme, according to an FBI press release.

U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman made the announcement. George is CEO of The George Group, which the feds allege pitched prospective investors-including several retired athletes-to invest with the firm. George told investors their money would be used to fund real estate development projects. “George represented to some prospective investors that their funds would be held in an attorney escrow account and personally guaranteed the return of their investments, with interest,” said the press release.

George placed investments of more than $2 million between 2005 and 2011 in personal and business accounts, using new investments to pay older investors in ponzi-scheme fashion and using some on home improvement projects, dining out, gas and other personal expenses, rather than real estate projects, according to the FBI.

George faces a maximum 20-year sentence and $250,000 in fines if convicted.

Swindler Madoff Says Banks and Hedge Funds Knew He was Up to No Good

Bernie Madoff/facebook photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Swindler Bernie Madoff, the king of Ponzi scams, told the New York Times that his family new nothing about his crimes, and that banks and hedge funds were “complicit” in his fraud and knew he was up to no good.

From prison on North Carolina, Madoff said banks and hedge funds were guilty of “willful blindness” and failed to examine discrepancies between his regulatory filings and other information they had access to, the Times reported.

“They had to know,” Mr. Madoff said. “But the attitude was sort of, ‘If you’re doing something wrong, we don’t want to know.’ ”

Madoff told the Times he was surprised to hear about email and messages surfacing in lawsuits that raised doubts about his operation.

“I’m reading more now about how suspicious they were than I ever realized at the time,” he said with a faint smile.

To read more click here.

Hundreds of FBI, DEA and ICE Agents Fall Victim to Ponzi Scheme

thief

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

WASHINGTON — FBI agents are supposed to unearth scams, not become victims of them. This time is different.

Some 300 retired and current federal agents — representing the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration and Immigration and Customs Enforcement — collectively invested tens of millions of dollars of retirement money in what turned out to be a Ponzi scheme allegedly run by a Florida man who committed suicide last month, an attorney in the case said.

The FBI and the Securities and Exchange Commission are now investigating and trying to recover funds.

“There are definitely [agents] who have lost their life savings,” Fort Lauderdale attorney Michael Goldberg, who is representing the victims, told AOL News.

The reaction of the agents? “Pretty much what you expect,” Goldberg said. “Shock and anger.”

Behind it all, authorities said, was a self-described retirement investment adviser named Kenneth Wayne McLeod, 48. For years McLeod served as a trusted adviser to federal agents around the country, making free financial projections for retirement and in some cases offering high-yield returns of 8 to 10 percent on certain investments, according to an SEC filing in the case.

On June 22, McLeod was found dead in Jacksonville, Fla., of a gunshot wound.

His Florida-based companies, Federal Employee Benefits Group Inc. and F&S Asset Management Group Inc., appear to have been shut down and all assets frozen, authorities said. Calls to both numbers went unanswered this afternoon and the voice mails were full.

McLeod allegedly mentioned to prospective clients the names of many federal agents he knew, including straitlaced FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, according to the website Gang Land News, which reported on the story today.

“[McLeod] would tell people that Bob Mueller was a friend of his,” a retired FBI agent told Gang Land News. “The guy was a real charmer. He would say that he and Bob were best of friends and that Bob and his wife used to stay at his place all the time. The worst thing about this is that this creep scammed hard-working GS-13s and GS-14s [federal employees].”

Mueller did in fact rent vacation properties in Amelia Island, Fla., for several years, Gang Land News reported. But Michael Kortan, the chief FBI spokesman, said in a statement that even if McLeod had owned one of those properties, Mueller had no idea who he was renting from.

“The director had no personal or professional relationship with Mr. McLeod, nor did he engage in any financial dealings of any kind with him,” Kortan stated.

According to the SEC, McLeod for years put on retirement seminars that federal agencies paid as much as $15,000 for. He offered some investments with such companies as Fidelity, which the FBI said appeared to be safe. But others investments appeared to be fraudulent.

In many instances, he offered high returns — 8 to 10 percent — through bonds.

“The security of the government bonds was a key element of McLeod’s deception but he never purchased any bonds,” the SEC said in a statement on June 25. “Instead, he used the investors’ retirement savings to conduct a Ponzi scheme, to pay himself and to pay for lavish entertainment, including annual trips to the Super Bowl for himself and 40 friends.”

FBI special agent Jeff Westcott of the Jacksonville, Fla., office, which is investigating the matter, told AOL News that McLeod had “an air of credibility.”

The irony and embarrassment of the case are clear to many agents around the country. And at the SEC, the unusual set of circumstances is not lost on officials.

Glenn Gordon, SEC associate regional director for the Miami Regional Office, said, “I am not aware personally of another case where this was the target audience.”

Bernie Madoff Hanging Out With Mobster and Spy Jonathan Pollard in Prison

Bernie Madoff/facebook photo

Bernie Madoff/facebook photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

No question Bernie Madoff crossed paths with some interesting folks with some interesting stories while schmoozing and gallivanting about in Palm Beach and Manhattan and places afar.

Still, they may not be as interesting as the folks he’s keeping company with these days in federal prison in North Carolina.

The Associated Press reports that the 71-year-old Ponzi schemer is socializing with folks like spy Jonathan Pollard, who was convicted of selling government secrets to Israel, and mobster Carmine Persico, the reputed family boss of the Colombo family.

He also lives on the bottom bunk, shares a cell with a convicted drug offender and eats pizza cooked by a child molester, the Associated Press reported, citing a legal complaint filed Tuesday by Calif. attorney Joseph Cotchett, who represents about a dozen clients who were ripped off by Madoff.

AP reports that Cotchett interviewed Madoff in July at the Butner Federal Correctional Complex in North Carolina.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Ex-NFL Player Reed Diehl Pleads Guilty in Calif. in Ponzi Scheme

tennessee-titans

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Former NFL player Reed Kyle Diehl is in big trouble for clipping — yes clipping investors in a $5 million Ponzi scheme.

The 30-year-old former offensive lineman for the Tennessee Titans  pleaded guilty Monday in Santa Ana, Calif., to fraud charges in connection to a Ponzi in which he “collected funds with promises of high rates of returns on investment loans”, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Diehl posed as a banker who made short-term cash loans to businesses or individuals.

“Instead of using investor funds to make loans, he used investors’ money to repay earlier investors and to fund his lifestyle,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a press release. U.S. District Judge David O. Carter will sentence him Sept. 28.

Authorities say Diehl was originally arrested in March 2008 and released on bond. In January, his bond was revoked after he got involved in a real estate transaction involving a $3.5 million home using a false name and social security number, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Adios Bernie: Judge Gives Madoff 150 Years, Says “Sorry Is Not Enough”

Well, 150 years is a lot, but quite appropriate. There’s no way to make up for the damage he did.

By Thomas Zambito, Jose Martinez and Corky Siemaszko
New York Daily News
NEW YORK — Ponzi king Bernie Madoff got the max Monday – 150 years in prison – for engineering a $65 billion fraud scheme that made his name synonymous with unbridled greed.

Manhattan Federal Court Judge Denny Chin threw the book at Bernie after Madoff finally apologized and told the court, “I’m sorry is not enough” after the swindler was savaged by the victims of his scheme.

“I have left a legacy of shame,” Madoff said after a dozen of his dupes begged a judge to let him rot in jail. “This is something I will live in for the rest of my life.”

Madoff also defended his wife Ruth, who while not charged with a crime has become a reviled figure in the tragedy.

For Full Story

Victims Speak Out

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Texas Billionaire Stanford Surrenders to FBI Agents in Va.

R. Allen Stanford/bbc news photo

R. Allen Stanford/bbc news photo

Update:  Stanford Indicted Friday Morning (N.Y. Times)

It’s been hard to stomach seeing that swindlers like R. Allen Stanford and Bernie Madoff not only lived the good life, but enjoyed the respect of so many people who admired their wealth.

By MARY FLOOD and TOM FOWLER
Houston Chronicle
HOUSTON — Federal prosecutors are expected to announce an indictment against embattled Texas businessman R. Allen Stanford and others, possibly as early as today in a Washington news conference.

On Thursday, Houston prosecutor Gregg Costa, along with other prosecutors and FBI agents who have been investigating the Stanford Financial Group, obtained an indictment from a Houston grand jury. The same panel indicted Stanford Chief Investment Officer Laura Pendergest-Holt earlier this year.

A grand juror went before U.S. Magistrate Judge Frances Stacy Thursday, accompanied by Costa and the agents. She told the judge she had indictments to return, which Costa asked to have sealed. Stacy then cleared all media from the courtroom.

For Full Story

Madoff May be Gone But Scammers Still Abound

handcuffedBernie Madoff may have had the most infamous Ponzi scheme of all time (short of Charles Ponzi), but there are still investors out there getting bilked of their retirement savings and other funds by scammers. First, we have Ponzi schemer Donald Manning sentenced to over 5 years in prison for taking $4.5 million in cash from retirees. Then we have Eric Hauser, former head securities trader and founder of the Lancer Group, manipulating stock values to the tune of $200 million in investor losses. Kudos to the prsoecutors  in these two – this is the last thing our economy needs right now.


By Mike Allen
San Diego Business Journal
Donald Manning, a former president of an investment firm that bilked some $4.5 million from retirees including members of Manning’s family, was sentenced April 15 to 63 months in federal prison by federal Judge Barry Ted Moskowitz, federal prosecutors said.

Manning, 71, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and fraud charges Jan. 16 in the case that involved two other defendants, Joseph Wayne McCool and Cameron Campbell.

For Full Story

South Florida Business Journal

A former head securities trader pleaded guilty on Tuesday (April 28)  in Miami to charges he participated in a scheme to manipulate trading of stocks owned by the Lancer Group hedge funds.

Investors are estimated to have lost $200 million.

Eric Hauser, 65, was founder and primary manager of the Lancer Group.

It was alleged that, between 1999 and 2003, Lauer and others manipulated the closing market price of thinly traded shell company securities to falsely inflate the value of the Lancer Group hedge funds.

For Full Story