New York (HedgeCo.Net) – The SEC has located and halted a Ponzi scheme targeted primarily at deaf individuals in the United States and Japan.
According to the complaint, Hawaii-based Billion Coupons, Inc. along with its CEO
Marvin R. Cooper was able to raise $4.4 million from 125 investors by holding seminars at Deaf community centers.
Cooper allegedly promised investors that their cash would be invested in Forex markets and returns would be in the 25 percent range. In reality, Cooper only invested $800,000 in Forex markets and lost over $750,000 from those trades.
When they couldn’t make their promised returns, they started the Ponzi scheme, where new money coming in is used to pay off older investors. The SEC alleges that Cooper misappropriated at least $1.4 million of those funds to purchase a new home and other personal belongings. The scam has been running since at least September 2007.
"A Ponzi scheme targeting members of the Deaf community is particularly reprehensible," said Rosalind R. Tyson, Regional Director of the SEC’s Los Angeles Regional Office.
The assets of BCI and Cooper have been frozen and a temporary receiver has been appointed. In addition to the SEC charges, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission filed an emergency action yesterday against the two, for violations of the antifraud provisions of the Commodity Exchange Act.
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