Friday, September 21, 2018

"Ponzi scheme unraveled by feds used CLOs of consumer portfolios"

A quick keyword search of the 47 page SEC complaint makes no mention of strippers, strip clubs or stripper poles. Highly irregular behavior in Ponzis.* These guys are sick.
There is a picture of a nice Bugatti Veyron though so maybe they still have some Ponzi cred.

From MarketWatch, Sept. 21:
Three men indicted this week for allegedly running a complex half-fake, half-real Ponzi scheme used the promise of high returns from buying, selling and collecting collateralized subprime and defaulted consumer loan portfolios to defraud doctors, lawyers, accountants and small business owners of more than $364 million, according to indictments filed by the U.S. Attorney for Maryland district.

At a joint news conference held by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice, FBI special agent in charge Gordon Johnson said the fraud was uncovered based on a tip.
“Most of these investors are just learning that they have been victimized,” U.S. Attorney Robert Hur said at the conference. “The effects of this kind of fraud can be devastating. We urge anyone who thinks they may be a victim to contact the FBI.”

A collateralized loan obligation purchases pools of bank loans made to individuals and businesses. CLOs raise funds received by issuing of debt and equity to acquire diverse portfolios of loans.

From at least 2013, Kevin Merrill, Jay Ledford and Cameron Jezierski, along with six affiliated companies also named as defendants, allegedly peddled the CLO scheme to investor groups, investment funds and special purpose vehicles organized by investors in Dallas, Chicago, Maryland, and Colorado, as well as from individuals. More than $90 million was invested by over 200 individual investors, approximately $52 million by family offices, and nearly $203 million by feeder funds, largely made up of groups of individuals.

The SEC alleged Merrill and Ledford spent more than $10.2 million on at least 25 high-end cars, $330,000 for a 7-carat diamond ring, $168,000 for a 23-carat diamond bracelet, millions of dollars on luxury homes, and $100,000 to a private fitness club.

Lance Wade, who represents Kevin Merrill, did not respond to a request for comment. Attorneys for the other two men were not listed in court filings.

The defendants offered and sold various forms of securities to the investors with the promise of significant investment returns from a mix of real and fake buying and selling of consumer dept portfolios— generally auto, credit card, and student loan debt—that is often sold in portfolios made up of thousands of individual debtors’ accounts.

Daniel M. Portnov, counsel at the Law Office of Sara Kropf PLLC, told MarketWatch, “Consumer debt has replaced residential mortgages (RMBS) as this decade’s hot securitized investment vehicle and certainly caught the notice of feeder fund and family office investors trying to outpace the market.”

During the time they were allegedly operating the fraud, they did sometimes actually purchase, service, and sell a limited amount of real consumer debt. They also made payments to investors of approximately $197 million, but most of that money was just money received from other investors, according to the SEC’s complaint.

The actual business and the payments were used to support the fabrication of much more fake activity that could deceive investors into believing that their investments were generating a return. As a result, the SEC’s complaint says, “many unsuspecting investors were victimized repeatedly and referred other prospective investors” to the defendants.

The trio’s securities offerings included $1.5 million raised by Ledford beginning in 2014 using one of the indicted companies, Riverwalk Financial Corporation, which he controlled. Ledford filed a Form D with the SEC, a form of securities offering which is exempt from typical registration requirements....MUCH MORE
*Manafort Indictment: I Should Have Been Long Antique Rugs Instead Of Stripper Poles
Usually these guys go in for stripper poles. So you try to have some inventory should they ever cross your path. But noooo....

From 2013's "How to Spot a Hedge Fund Fraudster":
Bombast. In my experience they are all bombastic.
And stripper poles. You would not believe the number of stripper poles that crooks collect....

...Some of the varlets who have graced our pages:
More Strip Clubs, Private Jets and Ponzis
...“Credit card and bank records show that Martin spent more than $1 million at a strip club and restaurants, nearly $1 million at elite hotels and another $1 million renting flight time on private jets,” prosecutors said.  “He purchased a fleet of luxury vehicles, donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to celebrity charity events, and hired personal security guards to accompany him in public.”...
The Dénouement: Perpetrator of $190 Million Minneapolis Foreign Exchange Ponzi Scheme Sentenced
...According to court documents made public, Cook purchased a Rolls Royce Silver Spur, a Maserati Quattroporte, a Hummer H2, a Jaguar S-Type, a Mercedes-Benz, a heavily customized Audi S8, a 60-foot houseboat (complete with a brass stripper pole), an island in Canada and a two-person submarine....
The Stripper and the Ponzi Schemer
A Holly Golightly for the Stripper-Embezzlement Age...