AN HYIP PARANOIA-MAKER: Undercover Agent Listens To Alleged Bankrupt Fraudster’s Pitch In ‘Hooters’; SEC Files Emergency Action Alleging Christopher Love Blackwell At Helm Of Massive Fraud Scheme
EDITOR’S NOTE: This developing story on the alleged actions of accused securities schemer Christopher Love Blackwell is apt to cause paranoia among HYIP and prime-bank fraudsters, including criminals who populate online forums such as TalkGold and MoneyMakerGroup.
It features the presence of a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) undercover operative who allegedly infiltrated Blackwell’s scheme and was so good at keeping his identity secret that Blackwell pitched him repeatedly over a period of months in a Hooters restaurant and bar as other agents worked to unmask the complex caper. The undercover agent eventually returned an “investment contract” prepared by Blackwell and plunked down $1,000 of government money as a down payment on a purported $500,000 investment. Blackwell allegedly later contacted the undercover agent repeatedly via email and telephone to collect the outstanding “balance” of $499,000. Blackwell even left a voicemail on the agent’s phone, according to court filings.
BULLETIN: The SEC has gone to federal court in Dallas and is seeking an emergency injunction to halt an alleged Ponzi scheme involving Christopher Love Blackwell of Euless, Texas, and Roswell, N.M., AV Bar Reg Inc. of Colleyville, Texas, and Millers A Game LLC of Chandler, Ariz.
Blackwell, 31, and his companies initially came on the Feds’ radar screens last year when the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was alerted that he was wiring large sums of money and conducting cash transactions that raised terrorism concerns, according to court records.
In the end, the SEC dryly advised a federal judge, “it became clear to DHS that Blackwell was not a terrorist — just a thief.”
Regardless, the SEC said, the fraud was ongoing and Blackwell still appeared to be selling the scheme as recently as Jan. 19.
DHS operatives kept Blackwell under surveillance, assembled documents, conducted interviews and “made video and audio recordings of meetings during which Blackwell offered investments to undercover agents,” the SEC said in court filings.
Records show that Blackwell was on the receiving end of a default judgment of $24 million in a civil fraud case filed in July 2008 and sought Chapter 7 protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court on Christmas Eve 2008.
Despite the lawsuit, judgment and bankruptcy filing, Blackwell continued to operate what he described as a “Fixed Income Trading Program” that offered returns of up to 30 percent a month, according to the SEC.
To pull off his Ponzi and fraud scheme, Blackwell bragged about his “academic pedigree,” falsely claiming to have Master’s and PhD degrees “from a prestigious university in Spain” and also falsely claiming once to have been employed by Goldman Sachs and the Bank of Madrid.
In 2007, with the scheme unknown to law enforcement, Blackwell stole $750,000 from an investor. In 2008, according to court filings, he swindled $200,000 from another investor, returning $9,926 in bogus “profits” to the investor. This investor was introduced to Blackwell by “an intermediary who claimed to run a faith-based business and investment development firm,” according to the SEC complaint.
The purported faith-based intermediary assured the investor that Blackwell’s program in “foreign bank instruments” was “totally safe,” the SEC alleged. Despite the assurance of the intermediary, Blackwell immediately began to distribute the $200,000 provided by the investor to other companies and people, including Blackwell’s former business partner and Blackwell’s father.
By late 2008, according to the SEC, Blackwell was engineering a scheme to rip off a former football player for the Dallas Cowboys. The player had been introduced to Blackwell by another player, according to the complaint.
Neither player was identified in the complaint. The former player, lured by the promise of safe returns from an experienced international trader, gave Blackwell $250,000 in the belief that he was purchasing an investment note from HSBC Bank, one of the largest financial firms in the world.
Blackwell “never” purchased an HSBC note. Instead, according to the SEC, he instructed an attorney exercising control over the escrow account to which the former Cowboy had wired the funds to transfer nearly all of the $250,00 to a Phoenix company controlled by a friend of Blackwell.
When confronted by the SEC, Blackwell allegedly told the agency that he had “earned” the money despite his assurances to the player that the sum would be used to purchase a safe bank note.
Although Blackwell showed the former football player a document on HSBC letterhead as purported proof he had purchased a bank note with the player’s money, “HSBC’s Security and Fraud Risk group has confirmed that the letter was fraudulent.
“In other words,” the SEC said, “it was a forgery.”
The former player appears to have been ripped off for the entire $250,000 investment, the SEC said.