Now, A $145 Million Fraud Scheme in Utah; SEC Charges Travis Wright Amid ‘Sandwich In A Can’ Allegations

A Utah man whose assets — including a taxidermy of a full-body African lion — was put on the action block amid Ponzi allegations earlier this year was selling unregistered securities and running a $145 million offering fraud, the SEC said today.

Charged in the case was Travis L. Wright. The SEC said the scheme raised “nearly $145 million from approximately 175 investors” by providing investors promissory notes issued by Waterford Loan Fund LLC.

The notes purportedly were secured by a lien on a trust that held all the assets of the fund, but Wright made “numerous” misrepresentations to investors, the SEC charged.

Waterford was placed in bankruptcy last year, and Ponzi allegations emerged. The asset sale was billed in April as stemming from the proceeds of “one of the largest alleged Ponzi fraud cases in Utah.”

Among the taxidermy items put up for bid were a “full body African lion,” Cape Horn buffalo, African antelope and hyena, wildebeest and other exotic animals. Forty-three firearms also were put up for auction, along with “beautiful, top-quality office furniture,” paintings, Persian and Oriental rugs, “fine home furnishings, antiques and more.”

In June, the FBI said that recent Ponzi schemes and cases of investment fraud have cost Utah residents an estimated $1.4 billion. Some of the schemes were targeted at Mormons, the agency said.

About 370 investigative “subjects” — defined as “potential perpetrators” in current cases — have been identified, and the agency and its law-enforcement partners have embarked on a public awareness and education campaign aimed at keeping Utahns safe from scammers.

About 4,400 people have been affected by investment-fraud schemes in the state, the FBI said. The education campaign includes billboards and public-service messages.

Among the allegations by the SEC against Wright was that he directed money to a company that planned to sell a product through vending machines. The product was described as a “sandwich in a can.”

The SEC asserted that Wright told investors “that their funds would be used only to make loans secured by commercial real estate, when in fact he used their funds primarily for loans and investments having nothing to do with real estate.”

Meanwhile, Wright told investors their promissory notes were secured by interests in a trust, “but no such trust existed” and “the notes were not secured,” the SEC said.

Although Wright told investors that Waterford would never lend more than 50 percent of the value of its real estate holdings, he did not disclose “that he never obtained an appraisal or valuation of real estate before lending investor funds against it” and that “he was using investor funds to pay for a lavish lifestyle for himself and his friends and family,” the SEC charged.

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8 Responses to “Now, A $145 Million Fraud Scheme in Utah; SEC Charges Travis Wright Amid ‘Sandwich In A Can’ Allegations”

  1. A “sandwich in a can” actually sounds like it would make pretty good prison food.

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  2. Albert: A “sandwich in a can” actually sounds like it would make pretty good prison food.  

    That’s what Wright will be doing for lunch every day for a few years.

    Having a sandwich “in the can”

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  3. Is this the same Travis L. Wright?
    http://www.jud.ct.gov/external/supapp/Cases/AROap/AP76/76ap228.pdf
    An appeal on manslaughter! I haven’t checked how things turned out.

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  4. No that is not the same Travis L. Wright?

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  5. I have never denied the existence of ponzi schemes in Utah. The question is orders of magnitude. The largest Utah Scheme (Val Southwick) stole about $160 million dollars. We don’t know if that is the o0ut of pocket loss or the 9investment loss. By comparison Madoff’s investment loss was $68 Billion and the out of pocket loss was $20 Billion. Southwick’s fraud 9is less than one percent if compared to the out of pocket loss and less that one third of one percent if compared to the investment loss. A fifteen or twenty thousand dollar ponzi scheme is nothing compared to Tom Petters, Scott Rothstein, Mark Sandford. Utah doesn’t come close to Florida in number of schemes and sizes of schemes.

    The lesson is that the Saints may wish to cheat and be cheated but they aren’t particularly good at it.

    Seriously, anyone and everyone are at risk from this national disgrace and you aren’t safe because of location or religion.

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  6. I have never denied the existence of ponzi schemes in Utah. The question is orders of magnitude. The largest Utah Scheme (Val Southwick) stole about $160 million dollars.

    Ummn,

    no,

    to be accurate your statement would have to read:

    I have never denied the existence of ponzi schemes in Utah. The question is orders of magnitude. The largest Utah Scheme “THAT I KNOW OF OR THE DETAILS OF WHICH HAVE BEEN PUBLICLY RELEASED”(Val Southwick) stole about $160 million dollars.

    Joe Citizen has absolutely no way of knowing the who, what and where of FBI investigations and/or what the FBI knows.

    Unlike TV, real law enforcement agencies are not in the habit of revealing their hand.

    Personally, I would be more likely to believe the FBI figures to be an “UNDER” rather than an “OVER” estimation of the size and scope of the problem.

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  7. There is faaaaar more going on in Utah that you need to deflect to other scams elsewhere. The google money scam originated there, Anthony Morrison is hiding a scam out of there….the list goes on. It’s a haven for work at home scams.

    http://www.dslreports.com/forum/r20611890-Scam-Anthony-MorrisonHidden-Millionaires-Infomercial~start=1360#end

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  8. Why should the magnitute of the fraud be so significant? Maddoff lost fortunes for wealthy people and the Utah scams lost less money for less wealthy people. I dont think you will find it any consolation to anyone who has been defrauded that someone else lost even more money to a bigger fraudster. A fraud is a fraud and its criminal ramifactions are the same whether millions or billions are involved. It is not a victimless crime.

    The large number of frauds coming out of Utah, Florida and several other states is a cause for serious concern and dont forget that the sum of lots of smaller frauds can end being very large indeed.

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