Federal Judge Issues Restraining Order, Asset Freeze In Alleged Mantria Ponzi Scheme; Video Featuring President Obama, Former President Clinton And World Business Leaders Pulled From ‘Speed Of Wealth’ Website

In a day of notable irony, the Obama administration announced the creation of an Interagency Financial Fraud Task Force led by the Department of Justice. Critical support functions will be provided by the Treasury Department, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

One of the first cases the new Task Force may find itself discussing is the alleged Mantria Corp. Ponzi scheme — a scheme in which a video featuring an image of President Obama and recorded remarks by former President Clinton was used in marketing materials by the alleged schemers.

Even as the Task Force announcement was being made, the SEC was announcing that a federal judge had granted a Temporary Restraining Order and asset freeze in the alleged “green” Ponzi operated by Mantria Corp. of Pennsylvania and sold by Speed of Wealth LLC of Colorado.

Within minutes, a video featuring a snapshot of President Obama and recorded remarks by President Clinton at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) annual meeting in New York Sept. 25 went missing from Speed of Wealth’s website. Meanwhile, the Mantria website defaulted to a message that read, “We Are Rebuilding this Site to Make it the Most Informational Site Possible. Please check back with us in 10 days.”

Only yesterday the Mantria website showcased a PDF that appeared to have been assembled in part from CGI press materials to spotlight President Clinton’s efforts to improve the world.

The Speed of Wealth video, a marketing prop that dropped the names of famous politicians and international celebrities such as former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan and actor Matt Damon, still had been accessible this morning.

That changed quickly after the announcement of the TRO and asset freeze. The SEC announced civil charges against Speed of Wealth and Mantria yesterday. Speed of Wealth’s video highlighted Mantria’s purported devotion to the environment, under the headline “Mantria Honored by President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.”

In the video, Mantria CEO Troy Wragg appeared on the stage next to President Clinton, Secretary of State Clinton and others. CGI had lauded Mantria for helping to “mitigate global warming through the use of its Carbon Fields site, where Mantria will perform trials on their product BioChar, a carbon-negative charcoal, to prove how this product can sequester carbon dioxide, improve soil quality when buried, and reduce emissions in developing countries.”

Regulators said yesterday that BioChar was part of a $30 million Ponzi fraud.

Despite claims that “Mantria was the world’s leading manufacturer and distributor of biochar and had multiple facilities producing it at a rate of 25 tons per day,” the SEC said, “Mantria has never sold any biochar and has just one facility engaged in testing biochar for possible future commercial production.”

Others featured in the Speed of Wealth video included President Laurent Gbagbo of the Ivory Coast, Mike Duke, CEO of Wal-Mart and Muhtar Kent, CEO of the Coca-Cola Co.

All of the individuals were among the prominent attendees of President Clinton’s CGI function.

It is not unusual for companies to promote themselves by trying to establish ties to prominent figures. AdSurfDaily, a Florida company accused by the U.S. Secret Service and federal prosecutors of operating a $100 million Ponzi scheme, was featured in promotions that claimed company President Andy Bowdoin had received a special award for business achievement from President George W. Bush.

Prosecutors said the claim was false. What ASD promoters had called an important award from the White House, investigators called a souvenir for donations to the National Republican Congressional Committee.

What was unusual about the Speed of Wealth video is that it shamelessly dropped so many names of well-known people who attended the CGI event, a dignified function hosted by President Clinton that annually draws global political and business leaders.

Some of the snap shots used in assembling the video appeared to have been pulled from media materials on CGI’s website.

Along with showcasing the video cobbled together from one of President Clinton’s signature events, the Speed of Wealth website announced what it described as “the Partnership of the Century!” between itself and Mantria.

Speed of Wealth said money was to be made while itself and Mantria were saving the environment and “helping Middle America secure its financial future!”

Topics covered included:

  • Why investing in foreclosures today will make you rich and the only way you should be doing it is sitting on the beach in Bermuda while your foreclosure empire grows.
  • How to build $2,000,000 dollars of wealth with absolutely no money out of your pocket ever.
  • How to easily receive up to 25% returns on your money annually in an investment that I believe to be safer than a bank CD.

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10 Responses to “Federal Judge Issues Restraining Order, Asset Freeze In Alleged Mantria Ponzi Scheme; Video Featuring President Obama, Former President Clinton And World Business Leaders Pulled From ‘Speed Of Wealth’ Website”

  1. Please don’t throw the Biochar baby out with Mantria’s Snake Oil bath water.
    The thermal conversion technology that they got hold of nefariously, is a solid, important innovation for the capture of energy from waste and low cost sequestration of carbon in soils. http://terrapreta.bioenergylists.org/taxonomy/term/93

    All political persuasions agree, building soil carbon is GOOD.
    To Hard bitten Farmers, wary of carbon regulations that only increase their costs, Building soil carbon is a savory bone, to do well while doing good.

    Biochar provides the tool powerful enough to cover Farming’s carbon foot print while lowering cost simultaneously.

    Another significant aspect of bichar is removal of BC aerosols by low cost ($3) Biomass cook stoves that produce char but no respiratory disease emissions. At Scale, replacing “Three Stone” stoves the health benefits would equal eradication of Malaria.
    http://terrapretapot.org/ and village level systems http://biocharfund.org/
    The Congo Basin Forest Fund (CBFF).recently funded The Biochar Fund $300K for these systems citing these priorities;
    (1) Hunger amongst the world’s poorest people, the subsistence farmers of Sub-Saharan Africa,
    (2) Deforestation resulting from a reliance on slash-and-burn farming,
    (3) Energy poverty and a lack of access to clean, renewable energy, and
    (4) Climate change.

    The Biochar Fund :
    Exceptional results from biochar experiment in Cameroon
    http://scitizen.com/screens/blogPage/viewBlog/sw_viewBlog.php?idTheme=14&idContribution=3011

    http://www.carboncommentary.com/2009/10/01/761/comment-page-1#comment-2558

    The broad smiles of 1500 subsistence farmers say it all ( that , and the size of the Biochar corn root balls )
    http://biocharfund.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=55&Itemid=75

    Mark my words;
    Given the potential for Laurens Rademaker’s programs to grow exponentialy, only a short time lies between This man’s nomination for a Noble Prize.

    This authoritative PNAS article should cause the recent Royal Society Report to rethink their criticism of Biochar systems of Soil carbon sequestration;

    Reducing abrupt climate change risk using
    the Montreal Protocol and other regulatory
    actions to complement cuts in CO2 emissions
    http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2009/10/09/0902568106.full.pdf+html

    There are dozens soil researchers on the subject now at USDA-ARS.
    and many studies at The up coming ASA-CSSA-SSSA joint meeting;
    http://a-c-s.confex.com/crops/2009am/webprogram/Session5675.html

    The Clean Energy Partnerships Act of 2009
    The bill is designed to ensure that any US domestic cap-and-trade bill provides maximum incentives and opportunities for the US agricultural and forestry sectors to provide high-quality offsets and GHG emissions reductions for credit or financial incentives. Carbon offsets play a critical role in keeping the costs of a cap-and-trade program low for society as well as for capped sectors and entities, while providing valuable emissions reductions and income generation opportunities for the agricultural sector. The bill specifically identifies biochar production and use as eligible for offset credits, and identifies biochar as a high priority for USDA R&D, with funding authorized by the bill.
    To read the full text of the bill, go to: http://www.biochar-international.org/sites/default/files/END09F94.pdf.

    Senator Baucus is co-sponsoring a bill along with Senator Tester (D-MT) called WE CHAR. Water Efficiency via Carbon Harvesting and Restoration Act! It focuses on promoting biochar technology to address invasive species and forest biomass. It includes grants and loans for biochar market research and development, biochar characterization and environmental analyses. It directs USDI and USDA to provide loan guarantees for biochar technologies and on-the-ground production with an emphasis on biomass from public lands. And the USGS is to do biomas availability assessments.
    WashingtonWatch.com – S. 1713, The Water Efficiency via Carbon Harvesting and Restoration (WECHAR) Act of 2009

    Individual and groups can show support for WECHAR by signing online at:
    http://www.biocharmatters.org
    http://www.biocharmatters.org/

    Congressional Research Service report (by analyst Kelsi Bracmort) is the best short summary I have seen so far – both technical and policy oriented.
    http://assets.opencrs.com/rpts/R40186_20090203.pdf .

    United Nations Environment Programme, Climate Change Science Compendium 2009
    http://www.unep.org/compendium2009/
    http://www.unep.org/compendium2009/PDF/Ch5_compendium2009.pdf

    Al Gore got the CO2 absorption thing wrong, ( at NABC Vilsack did same), but his focus on Soil Carbon is right on;
    http://www.newsweek.com/id/220552/page/3

    Research:
    The future of biochar – Project Rainbow Bee Eater
    http://www.sciencealert.com.au/features/20090211-20142.html

    Japan Biochar Association ;
    http://www.geocities.jp/yasizato/pioneer.htm

    Carbon to the Soil, the only ubiquitous and economic place to put it.
    Cheers,
    Erich

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  2. We are aware of the SEC action in Denver. We deny all the allegations raised by the SEC against Mantria and its principals and we are preparing our defense. We hope to obtain a favorable resolution of this matter. In the interim, we will continue to market our waste-to-energy systems, bio-char and related bio-products and our residential real estate communities.

    We also encourage people to come and see our properties, take a tour of our waste conversion system and see how we are able to convert biomass waste into valuable bio-products.

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  3. Thank you for covering this so thoroughly. I’d just like to clarify that the Clinton Global Initiative is primarily a fundraiser. The way you get invited is to donate $20,000. If you take a look at the website there are nearly 1,600 commitments to the CGI so it’s not as if Mantria was in a particularly select group- they just coughed up the cash. Pretty cynical when you realize that their goal was to use the CGI to establish credibility with these less sophisticated investors who gave money to Mantria and Speed of Wealth.

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  4. Donna, Wayde, Amanda, and Troy are disgusting. They used other peoples hard earned money to live a life of entitlement and luxury. Ridiculous amounts of money spend on pricey vacations, gifts, dining, parties etc. Has any one of them ever had an honest day of work in their life. Who are the people that supported their stealing? Customer Service?
    It is pathetic. Wayde is still tryng to act “chummy” with the investors and tryng to make Donna out to be saintly – People they stole from you and felt entitled to do it.
    What are Troy and Amanda’s credentials? Wragg’s to Riches HOW? hope the “honest” renewable energy supporters make certain that Donna, Wayde, Troy Amanda and anyone else who was supporting this charade are out of business forever.

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  5. It looks like Mantria was hosting a plethora of sites on its server.

    best-land-investment.com
    buy-tennessee-land.com
    cheaplandintennessee.com
    cheapmountainproperty.com
    cheaptennesseelandsale.com
    cheaptennesseeproperty.com
    eternagreenuniveristy.net
    guesswhoelse.com
    indiantrailestates.com
    indiantrialestates.com
    irisvillagetn.com
    ironbridge-properties.com
    ironbridge-property.com
    ironbridgeproperties.com
    ironbridgeproperty.com
    legacyridgetn.com
    mantria-communities.com
    mantria.com
    mantriabluffs.com
    mantriacommunities.com
    mantriafoundation.org
    mantriagreen.net
    mantrialife.com
    mantriarelations.com
    mantriatravel.com
    mantriaviewresort.com
    mantriavillage.com
    wemakeitthunderstorm.com
    http://www.cumberlandplateauland.com
    http://www.eternagreenglobal.com
    http://www.legacyridgetn.com
    http://www.mantria.com
    http://www.mantriacommunities.com
    http://www.mantriareog.com

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  6. Yes, and they DENY ALL CHARGES!!! Guess they deny telling investors that the Hohenwald facility was bringing in 6.2 million a year in profits when that facility has never opened its doors or produced the first speck of biochar. Guess they also deny telling investors that said facility could net them a 129 percent ROI over the next 2.5 years there, and if they ran two shifts there, that it would gain them a 293 percent ROI and, if they ran three shifts the number would continue to rise.

    Read the following quote

    [ 40 section b:]

    “At the May 21st, 2009 Speed of Wealth Seminar, Wragg, with Wayde McKelvy present, told prospective investors that their investment into Mantria’s Hohenwald facility will pay a 129% return on investment over the next 2.5 years, and that if they add another eight-hour shift to their production facilities, that return would increase to 293%, then go up yet again if they add a third eight hour shift and operate 24 hours per day.”

    Heres a link to the SEC complaint against Wragg, Knorr, and Wayde and Donna McKelvy.

    I think the SEC has likely crossed it’s t’s and dotted it’s i’s on this one.

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  7. So sorry forgot to include the link to the SEC complaint from which the above quote was taken:

    http://assets.bizjournals.com/cms_media/pacific/pdf/20091115complaint.pdf

    Reading the above will allow those who doubt to know that the SEC complaint was apparently not baseless.

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  8. Here in Greeley, when people ask, “What’s that Smell?”
    We all say , “Its the Smell of Money..”

    Apparently, the wise and compassionate honourable Judge Arguello agrees with the SEC…..

    Mantria’s GREED and the smell of money was the pile of BS they were interested in……….

    Manure_King
    Where Manure Methane is the Wave of the Future (NO NO we dont want your money!)

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  9. ITS ALIVE!!!!!!!!!!

    Not to be confused with a notable quote from “Wierd Science.”

    MANTRIA LIVES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ITS ALIVE!!!!!!

    I agree, and Troy Wragg in a webinar, just recently said, as earlier FRIDAY December 18th, 2009 that there was a definite “Letter of Intent” from Real Valid (You can check them out BUYERS) for a $100 Million Dollars for 20 Units and they saw, and more will see, since the Plant is up and running, and you will get your checks from the new sale of these units which will put millions into your pockets….

    Yeah.. Merry Christmas…thanks.. what wonderful Christmas News right before the holidaze.

    Manure_King

    Here in Greeley, when people ask whats that Smell, we say its the smell of money…

    Manure Methane where there’s no BS but good crap for dollars and the new energy source of the future……

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  10. Manure_King,

    Aw I remember that smell from the Monfort lots.

    Spent 4 wonderful years in Greeley from 80 – 84.

    Really brought back a memory when you mentioned that.

    Big Joe

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