A former Williamsport insurance agent, William E. Hocker, was sentenced to 17 years in prison and required to pay back almost $1.5 million which he took from unsuspecting investors, including his own mother. In October, Hocker pleaded guilty to securities fraud involving the scheme he perpetrated for 10 years. Hocker, who was licensed to sell insurance products but not annuities or securities, preyed mostly on family, friends, and the connections they brought to him. In the classic “too good to be true pitch,” Hocker lured investors in by promising them incredibly high returns of 25-30% with little to no risk.
A recent judgment in FINRA arbitration for nearly a quarter of a million dollars against a broker who sold Woodbridge notes to investors has struck fear in the hearts of many firms who weren’t paying attention to their brokers over the past few years. If one firm can be held responsible for the failings of a broker, they all potentially can. And that’s a billion-dollar problem.
Once you're inside a Ponzi Scheme, it can look and feel a lot like a normal investment opportunity, especially if the scheme operator is adept at creating false investment documentation. The key is not to get draw into a Ponzi Scheme in the first place. The most common signs of these frauds are evident from the beginning - that's when you have the greatest chance of identifying them.
According to the Massachusetts Depart of Justice, Raymond Montoya ran his Ponzi scheme for almost a decade under the auspices of a fund called RMA Strategic Opportunity Fund, LLC. Over the years, investors transferred millions of dollars to Montoya on the promise that he would invest the money in stocks and bonds.
An investment advisor charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission with running a multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme spent close to a million dollars on prayers from Hindu priests in order to keep the feds at bay. In spite of her prayers, however, Dawn Bennett was convicted by the federal government of defrauding more than 200 investors of nearly $18 million over the past several years.
According to the US Attorney’s office in Arizona, a group operating a Ponzi Scheme solicited millions of dollars in investments for various companies and projects, including real estate, recycling, and land development in Mexico. The solicitations were made through numerous seminars, magazines articles, radio broadcasts, and private offerings.
The SEC (Securities Exchange Commission) announced today that it has obtained a court order to shut down a major investment operation worth approximately $345 million. According to the SEC complaint, the scheme involved more than 230 investors from the United States and was lead by Kevin B. Merrill and Cameron Jezierski.
Financier Steve Stovanovich liked to play the big man. Over the past few years, he has pledged multimillionaire donations to the University of Chicago and institute named on his behalf. But as a recent investigation by the Chicago Maroon has revealed, Stovanovich may not possess the vast wealth he says he has.
According to public records, Greensburg, Pennsylvania based brokerage firm, Trustmont Financial Group, Inc. was ordered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority to pay an aggrieved client more than $1 million in damages.
According to the SEC's complaints, salespeople for the recently bankrupted Woodbridge group brought in millions of dollars in commissions for themselves largely by promising elderly wealthy investors guaranteed returns on the investments.
In a recent Securities and Exchange Commission complaint, the SEC alleged that insurance broker James E. Hocker of Bellefont, Pennsylvania engaged in fraudulent investment scheme that lasted approximately seven years, from 2010 to 2017.