Richard Elkinson Ordered To Pay $29 Million In Ponzi Case; 77-Year-Schemer Still Jailed After Arrest At Mississippi Casino In January

A 77-year-old man who fleeced clients by telling them he brokered contracts for a Japanese company that provided uniforms for the Winter Olympics, the Pan American games and the government has been ordered to pay $29 million in a civil case brought by the SEC.

Richard Elkinson is jailed in Massachusetts after being arrested at a Mississippi casino in January. He is facing charges that effectively could lead to a life sentence, if convicted.

Elkinson’s case drew headlines at the beginning of the year, after both state and federal investigators worked over the Christmas holiday in 2009 to expose the $28 million Ponzi scheme, according to records.

“The investors received promissory notes signed by Elkinson, with terms that generally required payment within 300 to 330 days and with an interest rate that ranged from 9% to 13%,” the SEC said.  “Elkinson had no relationship with a Japanese uniform manufacturer, and there were no contracts to purchase uniforms.”

It is possible that the scheme operated for at least 20 years before flaming out just prior to Christmas last year.

The FBI was working the case on Christmas Eve, according to the criminal complaint. After securing purchase orders claiming the states of Connecticut and Georgia were among Elkinson’s customers, an agent called the phone numbers on the purported purchase orders.

“In each instance, I encountered ‘disconnected’ messages,” the agent said.

The investigation also revealed that Elkinson had an affinity for Las Vegas and claimed to have credit lines of $25,000 each at the Venetian, MGM Grand and Caesars Palace casinos.

Elkinson, 76, of Framingham, was charged criminally with mail fraud. The Securities Division of the Massachusetts Secretary of State also is investigating Elkinson.

Records in Las Vegas casinos show that Elkinson had “conducted a total of more than $3.7 million in transactions over $10,000″ since 1998, prosecutors said. The Ponzi scheme began to collapse last year, and Elkinson missed a meeting with investors in December, and stopped answering his phone.

See earlier story.

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