SEC freezes assets of Las Vegas attorney behind $450 million Ponzi scheme

Rick Steves

The asset freeze obtained by the SEC against Beasley and the other defendants prevents any further dissipation of investor funds.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged several Las Vegas-area individuals and companies allegedly behind a $449 million Ponzi scheme.

The regulator also obtained an asset freeze against the defendants who allegedly duped hundreds of investors in a fraud involving purported personal injury settlements.

According to the complaint, attorney Matthew Beasley and cohorts Jeffrey Judd and Christopher Humphries told hundreds of investors that they would earn 12.5 percent quarterly returns by making risk-free investments in J&J Consulting Services.

But according to the complaint, none of the $449 million raised from investors over a five-year period was used for this purpose. Instead, they used investor money to purchase luxury homes, cars, boats, and a private jet for themselves, and paid fictitious returns to investors in Ponzi-like fashion to keep the scheme going.

Scheme promised nearly 50% annual increase on initial investment

Tanya Beard, Acting Director of the SEC’s Salt Lake Regional Office, said: “As alleged in our complaint, Beasley, Judd, and others enriched themselves through lies and deception, using their religious and community networks to fleece investors out of hundreds of millions of dollars after promising them a nearly 50 percent annual increase on their initial investment.”

The asset freeze obtained by the SEC against Beasley and the other defendants prevents any further dissipation of investor funds. The SEC is seeking permanent injunctions and disgorgement of ill-gotten gains plus interest and penalties.

Despite the successful whistleblower programme at the SEC and the CFTC, residents in the United States continue to be at risk of being duped by Ponzi schemes as there will always be an optimistic scammer lurking, in the belief that they will not get caught.

Earlier this week, the U.S. Court for the Southern District of New York permanently banned Casper Mikkelsen from trading commodity interests and ordered him to pay $1,191,286 in restitution and a $3,573,860 penalty for a Forex fraud brought to court by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

The Danish citizen will have to pay triple the profits he made committing the scam in which he promised clients he would use his discretion to trade forex on their behalf through his firm, GNTFX. In turn, his clients invested at least $1,536,782.47, but rather than using those funds for forex trading, Casper Mikkelsen misappropriated the funds in a typical Ponzi scheme, by paying purported forex trading profits to clients.

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