PONZI/FRAUD BRIEFS: Georgia HYIP Pair Sentenced To Combined 27 Years; Florida Fraudster Whose Wife Awaits Sentencing Gets 10 Years; Australian Court Rules TVI Express A Pyramid Scheme
Georgia HYIP/Ponzi pair sentenced: Geoffrey A. Gish, 57, of Lawrenceville, was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for his role in a $29 million “high-yield” scam that fleeced investors of more than $17 million.
Myra J. Ettenborough, implicated in the same scam initially unmasked by the SEC, was sentenced to seven years. Like Gish, Ettenborough, 56, of Roswell, was ordered by U.S. District Judge Charles A. Pannell Jr. to pay more than $17.245 million in restitution.
The scam involved pooled funds that “supposedly involved ‘high yield trading programs,'” prosecutors said.
An FBI agent said the scammers were greedsters.
“Mr. Gish and Ms. Ettenborough exhibited total disregard for their victim investors while displaying an almost limitless level of personal greed,” said Brian D. Lamkin, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Atlanta Field Office.
Florida HYIP/Ponzi globetrotter sentenced: John S. Morgan, the Sarasota man whose high-yield Ponzi venture took him to Europe and later landed him in jail in Sri Lanka, has been sentenced by U.S. District Judge Susan Bucklew to 10 years and a month in federal prison in the United States.
Morgan, 52, who ultimately cooperated with the government, may end up serving less time than his wife, who took her chances with a jury and was convicted in September on all 22 counts filed against her.
Marian Morgan, 57, is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 20.
Her jet-setting days at an end, Marian Morgan complained from Sri Lanka to a U.S. judge about “filthy” conditions in the overseas jail, noting she was being housed alongside “murderers and heroin dealers,” according to court records.
The Morgans were returned to the United States in 2009.
TVI Express ruled a pyramid scheme in Australia: TVI Express, an MLM company whose pitchmen used images of Donald Trump and Warren Buffett in promos, has been ruled a pyramid scheme by the Federal Court of Australia.
The case was brought by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
“It is beyond question that new participants in the TVI Express System are [led] to believe that they will receive payments for the introduction of further new participants,” Justice Nicholas said, according to ACCC.
“Indeed, the only way a participant can earn any income in the TVI Express System is through the introduction of new members to the scheme,” Justice Nicholas said, according to ACCC.
Some MLM scammers routinely use images of Trump and Buffett in promos. Affiliates of Data Network Affiliates (DNA), a firm associated with huckster Phil Piccolo, published images Trump and Oprah Winfrey in their promos last year.
When flogging DNA during a conference call last year that featured Piccolo associate Joe Reid, a fellow DNA huckster claimed the company had “certain people on speed dial that’s incredible.”
Reid emerged last month as a pitchman for Text Cash Network (TCN), which came out of the gate trading on the names of Groupon and Google Offers, among others. A firm known as One World One Website (OWOW) was an early promoter of TCN.
Reid and Piccolo also flogged OWOW last year.