Affinity Fraud Cases In New York And California Fleece Investors Of $35 Million, SEC Says; Ordained Minister Charged In New York Scheme Targeting Elderly Parishioners

Eight people have been charged in unrelated affinity-fraud cases in New York and California that bilked investors out of $35 million, the SEC said.

In the New York case, seven members of a Queens church were charged, including a minister. The scheme targeted “mostly elderly” members of the church, fleecing them of $12 million, the SEC said.

The California case resulted in charges against a woman who coupled affinity fraud with a Ponzi scheme to fleece investors of $23 million, the SEC said. The scheme targeted members of the Hispanic-American community.

Charged in New York were Isaac I. Ovid, 28, an ordained minister in the church and a citizen and resident of Trinidad & Tobago; Aaron Riddle, 34, of Narvon, Pa.; Bob Riddle, 59, the father of Aaron Riddle and a resident of New Holland, Pa.; J. Jonathan Coleman, 40, of Astoria, N.Y.; Stephen Cina, 32, of Westbury, N.Y.; Cory A. Martin, 31,of Westbury, N.Y.; and Timothy Smith, 35, of Ephrata, Pa.

Also charged in New York were Jadis Capital Inc., Jadis Investments LLC and Logos Multi-Strategy Hedge Fund I LP.

Charged in California were Clelia A. Flores and Maximum Return Investments Inc. (MRI) of El Segundo.

“As we allege in our complaint, Flores violated the trust of her own community by falsely promising high returns and no risk,” said Rosalind R. Tyson, director of the SEC’s Los Angeles Regional Office. “When she couldn’t deliver, she resorted to paying off early investors with money from unsuspecting newcomers.”

Flores misappropriated investors’ funds to pay her personal expenses “and finance a lavish party for MRI to celebrate the company’s alleged financial success,” the SEC said. About 150 investors from seven states were affected by the scheme, which began in late 2006.

Meanwhile, the defendants in the New York case bought expensive watches and a luxury Bentley automobile with investor funds, the SEC said.

Robert Khuzami, director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, didn’t mince words when describing the New York scheme.

“Affinity fraud is a particularly sinister scam that exploits investors in close-knit communities,” he said. “The SEC has recently brought enforcement actions against fraudsters who have deceived members of the deaf community, religious groups, and various minority groups. Today’s action is especially egregious, as church leaders targeted their own parishioners and betrayed the sincere trust placed in them.”

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3 Responses to “Affinity Fraud Cases In New York And California Fleece Investors Of $35 Million, SEC Says; Ordained Minister Charged In New York Scheme Targeting Elderly Parishioners”

  1. This is just the beginning of these type of stories. There will be many more to come in the ensuing months unfortunately. We are just seeing the tip of the iceberg that is out there.

    You have over 24,000 Cash Gifting videos on U-Tube, and that doesn’t count all the HYIP Ponzi/Scam programs out there; then throw in all the mortgage and MLM scams, and the list goes on and on you get the scope of the size of this nightmare to come.

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  2. Just in case anyone is depressed by this seemingly endless stream of scams, visit VRI forum and check out the list of scams currently being prosecuted:

    http://www.vcresearch.info/open/forums.asp?TopicId=7863&ForumId=69

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  3. Lynndel Edgington: This is just the beginning of these type of stories.There will be many more to come in the ensuing months unfortunately.We are just seeing the tip of the iceberg that is out there.You have over 24,000 Cash Gifting videos on U-Tube, and that doesn’t count all the HYIP Ponzi/Scam programs out there; then throw in all the mortgage and MLM scams, and the list goes on and on you get the scope of the size of this nightmare to come.

    The re-distribution of wealth is what I call it. The majority of people who get ripped off know full well when they sign up that if they gain they will be doing so at the expense of others. If they dont know, then they should. It is not difficult to find out.

    The type of people who would join an obvious ponzi are people whose funds are likely to be ill-gotten gains from some borderline or downright illegal activity in the first place.

    http://asdgodsown.ning.com/

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