Philly Affinity Fraudster Traded On Coca-Cola’s Name And Ran Ponzi, Feds Say

ponzinews1EDITOR’S NOTE: Affinity fraud takes many forms. The case against Constant Damas appears to have been one that married an appeal to a common nationality to an appeal to the taste buds and brand recognition. Scammers often trade on the names of famous companies and individuals. And they often issue appeals to people of common ancestry or background.

UPDATED 8:56 P.M. EDT U.S.A. A 45-year-old Philadelphia man who worked as an account manager at Coca-Cola Co. used his famous employer’s name to dupe people into investing in his Ponzi scheme, the office of U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania said.

Constant Damas swindled more than $1 million from at least 20 people over a period of five years, federal prosecutors said.

Damas is a native of Haiti and targeted the Haitian community, including family members and friends, prosecutors said.

He has pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud. From a statement by prosecutors (italics added):

Between 2007 through the end of 2012, Damas, who was an account manager at Coca-Cola Company, misrepresented to various individuals, including family members and friends in his Haitian community, that he was an investment manager at Coca-Cola.  He told his victims that, through this position, he could invest their money in Coca-Cola’s investment opportunities.  In fact, Damas did not hold this position and no such opportunities existed.  To entice his victims, Damas often made the following false representations to them:  he would collect a sum of money from the victims as their “principle” investment; the victims would receive an interest payment of a certain amount every month; and they could receive their principle payment upon request.  Damas, however, did not return the full “principle” investment amount back to his victims, and many of the victims did not receive any of their funds back or any interest payments.  Upon his arrest in February 2013, Damas admitted to federal agents that this was a “scam business.”

Damas is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 30. He potentially faces decades in federal prison.

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