BULLETIN: Trevor Cook Sentenced To 25 Years In Federal Prison; Victims Lost At Least $158 Million In International Forex Ponzi Scheme That Traded On Religion

Trevor Cook

BULLETIN: Ponzi schemer Trevor Cook has been sentenced to 25 years in federal prison for his role in an international Forex Ponzi scheme that gathered more than $190 million and fleeced victims out of more than $158 million.

In ordering the prison term, U.S. District Judge James Rosenbaum sided with the prosecution’s recommendation of a quarter of a century. It is believed to be the longest prison term ever imposed in a Minnesota financial-fraud case in which the defendant pleaded guilty.

“Such a sentence fairly, adequately, and justly punishes the defendant for his offense, reflecting the seriousness of the offense, his willingness to plead guilty and provide information to law enforcement, and the need to protect the public,” prosecutors said last week in a sentencing recommendation to Rosenbaum.

“Over the course of a few years, the defendant executed an investment fraud, victimizing approximately 923 victims and defrauding them of over $158 million,” prosecutors said. “As is all too common, the defendant often used victims’ religious beliefs as a means of enticing them to give him their money.”

Cook, 38, is not out of legal harm’s way — even with the sentence of 25 years. Prosecutors disclosed last week that he has signed a waiver that would subject him to further punishment if the ongoing investigation shows he has “somehow secreted undisclosed assets.”

Victims have expressed concerns that Cook could have stashed money from the scheme anywhere on earth. Cook failed a lie-detector last month about the whereabouts of assets.

FBI and IRS agents later found more than $400,000 in undisclosed assets under the control of Graham Cook, Trevor Cook’s brother.

Despite Cook’s lack of disclosure, prosecutors contended that it made no sense to delay Cook’s sentencing any longer as the asset search by the government and R.J. Zayed, the court-appointed receiver in a civil case filed against Cook and former Christian radio host Pat Kiley last year by the SEC and the CFTC, continued.

Cook had been scheduled to be sentenced last month. Kiley, who called his radio listeners “truth seekers,” has not been charged criminally in the case.

“The government has worked closely with the court-appointed receiver to assist its efforts in finding and identifying assets,” prosecutors said of Cook. “The government and the receiver now agree that any additional time prior to sentencing will not result in any additional information or assistance to the receiver’s efforts.”

It is possible that Cook could prove to be a valuable source of information for the government — in the same sense that disbarred attorney, convicted racketeer and Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein has become an information source.

Rothstein, who presided over a $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme in Florida, was sentenced to 50 years in federal prison earlier this year. It is known that Rothstein has provided information helpful to the government.

Cook “has been repeatedly debriefed by law enforcement in an effort to identify assets and to provide information regarding other individuals,” prosecutors said. “He has done so. The information has been of assistance to law enforcement in its ongoing investigation.”

Ponzi schemes are toxic — and frequently are incredibly elaborate. Court documents in case after case show that the schemes frequently feature schemes within schemes and elaborate money-laundering networks. Criminals often go to fantastic lengths to disguise the conduits of the schemes, using shell companies and multiple bank accounts to funnel money and make the schemes difficult to reverse-engineer.

FBI Director Robert Mueller has warned Congress at least twice this year about a “shadow” banking system criminals employ and an increasing reliance on “shell corporations” to commit crimes and hide from investigators.

Cook’s scheme featured companies with confusingly similar names.

Records show that Cook had a tie to a company the AdViewGlobal (AVG) autosurf claimed to be its facilitator of offshore wires.

KINGZ Capital Management, AVG’s purported facilitator, denied any affiliation with AVG, which has close ties to the AdSurfDaily autosurf. ASD is implicated in a Ponzi scheme alleged to involve tens of millions of dollars.

AVG collapsed in June 2009, after running a virtually nonstop promotion that advertised matching bonuses of 200 percent for both recruits and their sponsors.

The National Futures Association said last year that Cook was managing money for KINGZ. AVG made the claim KINGZ was its wire facilitator on May 4, 2008 — the same day the Obama administration announced a crackdown on offshore fraud.

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6 Responses to “BULLETIN: Trevor Cook Sentenced To 25 Years In Federal Prison; Victims Lost At Least $158 Million In International Forex Ponzi Scheme That Traded On Religion”

  1. I bet that’Ole Andy Bowdoin is shaking in his boots over all these schemes getting busted up and the sentences that are being handed out.

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  2. Jack, it’s sad that Andy doesn’t have 25 years left to spend in jail. And, yeah, I bet he is quaking in his Italian loafers.

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  3. I bet that’Ole Andy Bowdoin is shaking in his boots over all these schemes getting busted up and the sentences that are being handed out.  

    I doubt it. He’s proven to be a sociopath and likely doesn’t think he’s done anything wrong. More likely, IMO, he’s cooking up some new “opportunity” to sell to the prosecution, his legal team, his followers and/or inmates if he’s incarcerated.

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  4. More likely, IMO, he’s cooking up some new “opportunity” to sell to the prosecution, his legal team, his followers and/or inmates if he’s incarcerated

    Hi d_b,

    I’m guessing that some of the MLM, autosurf and penny-stock hucksters would be pleased to build their business around Bowdoin — even if he’s jailed, and even if the RICO case goes against him.

    A trip down Memory Lane for you:

    http://patrickpretty.com/2009/03/21/members-criticize-bowdoins-paperlessaccess-video-some-surfs-up-posters-say-enough-is-enough/

    And another way:

    http://patrickpretty.com/2009/03/28/breaking-news-first-paperless-access-used-andy-bowdoin-in-video-pitch-company-now-insults-registrants-in-email-pitch/

    Regards,

    Patrick

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  5. Today seems to be a good news date – for some.

    The saying “Oh wheat a tangled web we weave, when we practice to deceive” is a truism, but it looks as if the authorities are becoming increasingly successful at untangling the ponzi investment and money laundering webs of late. They are certainly using the golden rule and following the money trial in many of the cases that have been reported recently.

    The chilling factor is that many are inextricably linked in some way, be it through iniciators or promoters. It certainly gives rise to many questions about who controls the fraud industry.

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  6. sorry – last sentence should read

    It certainly gives rise to many questions about who controls the investment fraud industry.

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