Regulator Cites Uptick In Ponzi Fraud

“We are seeing an uptick in Ponzi scheme cases because, in this economic climate, new investors cannot be found to perpetuate the scheme. As these schemes collapse, the CFTC will move swiftly to prosecute those who harm innocent investors.” — Stephen J. Obie, CFTC

“Run the other way” if someone promises you exorbitant investment returns, warned the acting director of enforcement for the the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

In a statement, Stephen J. Obie also said regulators were seeing an uptick in Ponzi fraud because of the poor economy.

Last week, CFTC charged James Ossie of Dawsonville, Ga., and his company, CRE Capital Corp. (CRE) of Alpharetta, Ga., with operating a Ponzi scheme that defrauded investors of about $25 million in a forex scam.

CFTC said “Ossie and CRE promised pool participants that they would earn a 10 percent return on their money within 30 days by trading United States and Japanese currency pairs. The complaint further alleges that since June 18, 2008, rather than making money for pool participants, Ossie and CRE lost approximately $4.4 million trading forex.

“Finally,” the agency said, “the complaint alleges that Ossie and CRE operated a Ponzi scheme, in which forex trading ‘profits’ were actually paid from the principal of subsequent pool participants.”

Obie didn’t mince words.

“Investors must run the other way when approached by anyone claiming to guarantee exorbitant monthly returns, like those promised by CRE and Ossie,” he said.  “Such representations should raise an immediate red flag that such investment is too good to be true.

“We are seeing an uptick in Ponzi scheme cases because, in this economic climate, new investors cannot be found to perpetuate the scheme,” Obie continued.  “As these schemes collapse, the CFTC will move swiftly to prosecute those who harm innocent investors.”

CFTC said the case against Ossie and CRE was the first brought by its Forex Enforcement Task Force. Congress granted the agency new powers last summer under the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008.

Under its new mandate, CFTC is resposible for “investigating and litigating fraud in the  off-exchange retail foreign currency (forex) market.”

CFTC’s task force will focus on fraud in the retail forex market and will work cooperatively with other federal and state regulatory and criminal authorities.

“The formation of the CFTC’s new Forex Enforcement Task Force reaffirms our agency’s commitment to stopping unscrupulous individuals working in this space,” said Michael Dunn, head of CFTC’s  Forex Education and Outreach Task Force.

“This announcement sends a clear signal that the CFTC is on the beat, and that our continued and increased cooperation with law enforcement authorities will help put these forex dealers where they belong – in jail.”

Obie said forex fraud affects investors of all stripes.

“With the creation of the retail forex task force, the CFTC has committed the resources necessary to expand its efforts to identify and prosecute those who commit fraud in the retail forex market.”

The SEC also charged Ossie and CRE.

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9 Responses to “Regulator Cites Uptick In Ponzi Fraud”

  1. As discussed here:
    http://www.forexpeacearmy.com/forex-forum/scam-alerts-folder/3371-cre-capital-corporation-crecapcorp-com.html
    James Ossie seems to have had previous law suits against previous companies.

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  2. Hi Tony,

    That page was enlightening — and read very much like some of the early discussion about ASD: People seeking info, citing Ponzi fears, followed by claims it definitely wasn’t a scam.

    ASD’s advertised rate of return was actually higher than CRE’s, even though it “sounded” lower. At the professed rates, ASD (1 percent daily) would have returned $1,000 a day on a $100,000 buy-in — $30,000 a month.

    CRE, meanwhile, promised a 10 percent return in 30 days, so $100,000 would have fetched $10,000.

    Thanks for the note.

    Regards,

    Patrick

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  3. Patrick,

    I hope your website becomes “viral” so that then non-investment Ponzi’s like ASD get the publicity they deserve. ASD-grade Ponzi’s prey on a different group of people, and since they aren’t called “investments” the relationship to the Madoff and SEC regulated businesses that are turning out to be Ponzi’s despite being “regulated.” I’m glad you’re here.

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  4. Hi Marci.

    And I’m glad you’re here. :-)

    The Feds see the surfs as investment programs, much to the display of the autosurf operators.

    One of the things that has fascinated me about the ASD case is the level of disconnect. I’ve been to forums in which people endlessly criticized the government for its actions — and watched as the same members complained about getting ripped off by other autosurfs.

    Two days ago I visited a forum in which one of the participants said people who plunked down $6 could get a return of $5 million.

    Yes, $5 million!

    The post remains.

    Elsewhere on the forum people are wondering how to get back their ASD money from the government, all the while promoting other autosurfs.

    CRE was $25 million. ASD was $100 million. No one seems to know how many millions were involved in MegaLido, which reportedly had 27,000 members.

    If the Nadel case is a Ponzi, it’s $350 million.

    Pretty soon we’ll be talking about real money.

    Oops! We already are: Madoff was $50 billion.

    I fully expect to read someone defend the ASD Ponzi by saying $100 million is a drop in the bucket compared to Madoff, and the Feds should let the smaller Ponzis alone.

    Take care, Marci.

    Patrick

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  5. “I fully expect to read someone defend the ASD Ponzi by saying $100 million is a drop in the bucket compared to Madoff, and the Feds should let the smaller Ponzis alone.”

    You will. Do you need the links? LOL

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  6. Don’t you bet these regulatory agencies get tired of seeing the same old faces all the time? It ‘s not just that they keep seeing the same scammers, they’re also seeing the same “victims.” I’m sure they’re totally flummoxed when they see a victim of an old scam show up as a victim of a newer one.

    It reminds me of the anecdote from which the title of a Robert Fulgum book was drawn. It goes something like this: A newspaper reported that the local fire department had gotten a call from a woman reporting that smoke was pouring out of her neighbor’s house. The fire department breaks down the door, fights through the smoke to get to the bedroom, and sees that a man is lying in bed on a smoldering mattress., When the fire department gets the fire extinguished they ask the guy in the bed “what in the world happened?” To this question the guy replies: “I don’t know — it was on fire when I lay down on it. ”

    I think that’s pretty apt, especially for the former ASD members who are now selling AGV.

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  7. “Don’t you bet these regulatory agencies get tired of seeing the same old faces all the time? It ’s not just that they keep seeing the same scammers, they’re also seeing the same “victims.” I’m sure they’re totally flummoxed when they see a victim of an old scam show up as a victim of a newer one”

    I wonder how many of the ASD “faithful” are now feeling like the well reported marijuana grower who rang the police to report someone had stolen his crop.

    Imagine how much evidence of the size and scale of Bowdoins’ deception was included in the barrage of mail and emails sent to anyone and everyone.

    And people wondered why they were getting little or no response (or interest) from their communications.

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  8. Hi Marci,

    Don’t you bet these regulatory agencies get tired of seeing the same old faces all the time?

    Yes, they HAVE to be tired of this, especially when some of the people are actively selling other autosurfs while condemning the government and expecting that it will serve as a refund conduit when things turn sour.

    Take care.

    Patrick

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  9. Hi littleroundman,

    I wonder how many of the ASD “faithful” are now feeling like the well reported marijuana grower who rang the police to report someone had stolen his crop.

    Don’t be surprised if one of the faithful says ASD has nothing at all to do with growing marijuana, which of course it doesn’t.

    The point you were making will be ignored, missed or dismissed as lunatic ravings by some of the faithful.

    Regards,

    Patrick

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