BULLETIN: Feds Charge Minneapolis Man Amid Suspicions He Used Loot From Trevor Cook Ponzi Scheme To Party And Gamble With Strippers While Victims Suffered

BULLETIN: Five days after Ponzi swindler Trevor Cook pleaded guilty to defrauding victims in an elaborate international scam that reduced investors to ruin, a Minneapolis man hid proceeds from the caper from law enforcement and the court-appointed receiver, federal prosecutors said.

Victims of the Cook scheme — many of whom were people of faith — were defrauded of tens of millions of dollars. Court records strongly suggest that some of the recoverable money was spent on booze, exotic dancers and gambling — after the scheme was exposed by the SEC and CFTC in November 2009 and Cook’s assets were frozen.

Jon Jason Greco, 40, now has been charged with making false statements to federal agents. The case was filed under seal Tuesday, and the seal was lifted yesterday.

Cook, 38, pleaded guilty on April 13, 2010, and is serving a term of 25 years in federal prison. His plea agreement in the $190 million swindle required him to disclose the whereabouts of assets and cooperate with investigators. Investors immediately expressed fears that money that could be used to help them recover from the devastating scam had been hidden and that Cook could not be trusted in any context.

Some of the hidden loot was found months after the plea and cooperation agreement. Part of it had been concealed behind a toilet-paper dispenser and in air ducts in an apartment occupied by Cook’s brother, Graham Cook. Loot also was found in a storage locker at the Mall of America.

Although the recovered loot made up only a tiny percentage of the $190 million scam, victims said every dime was needed and that justice demanded that no third party should be permitted to profit from Cook’s colossal fraud.

Prosecutors now say that Greco came into possession of some of the loot on April 18, 2010 — five days after the Cook guilty plea. Greco helped hide the loot and lied about it when questioned by investigators, according to prosecutors.

Court records suggest investigators established links among Cook, Graham Cook and Greco, who once worked briefly for Trevor Cook as a purported security guard at the Van Dusen mansion in Minneapolis. The big break in the case appears to have occurred in July 2010, when Greco’s roommate told federal agents that Greco was “holding assets” for the Cook brothers and impeding a federal investigation.

Investigators had believed since at least June 2010 that Greco had stashed money from the caper, according to court filings.

The case against Greco was bolstered when an exotic dancer told an IRS criminal investigator who was following leads that Greco, believed to have been unemployed for months, suddenly began to spend generously at a Minneapolis strip club and to plow $100 bills into slot machines at a gambling emporium.

“Greco placed some of the assets in his possession in a locker at the Mall of America,” prosecutors charged. “On July 24, 2010, law enforcement seized the assets, valued at approximately $150,000. Subsequently, Greco allegedly claimed to investigators that the seized assets belonged to him.”

But the assets were from the Ponzi caper, prosecutors charged.

Greco faces up to 10 years in federal prison if convicted on two counts of making false statements.

When interviewed last summer, Greco told agents that he had no knowledge of concealed assets belonging to Cook, when, in fact, he did,” prosecutors said.

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