SEC acts against $18 million FX Ponzi scheme
Two Shakopee residents and their associated forex investment firm are in hot water with the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission as they stand accused of operating like a Ponzi scheme.
The SEC said Jason Dodd Bullard and Angela Romero-Bullard set up and ran a fraudulent trading business under the brand name ‘Bullard Enterprises LLC’ from at least 2007 up until now.
Through their managed entity, Jason and Angela offered retail forex trading and are alleged to have defrauded 200 investors out of $17.6 million. Instead of trading, they used the money collected to pay back to early investors and to support other businesses they owned, including a horse racing stable, limousine service, and health and fitness studio.
The defendants allegedly concealed their fraud by issuing false account statements to the pool participants showing that their balances were increasing in value. The SEC also named relief defendants, who are alleged to have received victims’ funds and will be asked to return them if the case is successful.
While the pyramid operators lived the good life with the money, they made phony excuses to investors for their failure to return funds and deliver promised profits. Over time, these excuses have grown more outlandish, but actually Bullard Enterprises has stopped trading in FX markets since 2015.
Most of the pool money was lost, according to the complaint that accuses the defendants of fraud, misappropriation, registration violations and issuing false statements. However, the SEC is seeking to retrieve the funds contributed to the scheme, alongside assets that relief defendants received from defendant to which they have no legitimate claim.
A relief defendant is a person or entity who has received funds or assets as a result of the illegal acts of the other named defendants. He is typically named because the plaintiff seeks injunctive relief to protect the sought funds or assets and apply them to any eventual recovery in the case.
The SEC seeks penalties and permanent registration and trading bans. The agency hopes to return invested funds to victims, though it said it cannot guarantee the full value can be obtained from the fraud operatives.
“Many of the investor-victims in this case were friends and family of Bullard and Romero-Bullard who trusted their promises about investment strategy and expected returns,” said Nekia Hackworth Jones, Director of the SEC’s Atlanta Regional Office. “As alleged in the complaint, Bullard and Romero-Bullard breached that trust for years. Instead of delivering on their promises, these individuals used false statements and fraudulent documents to convince investors to pour millions of dollars into bank accounts used almost exclusively for Ponzi-style payments and for their personal benefit.”