News came early this morning that the SEC had moved against Traffic Monsoon, calling it a Ponzi scheme. Both the “program” and alleged operator Charles Scoville were charged civilly yesterday in Utah federal court with securities fraud and selling unregistered securities to unaccredited investors.
Scoville also was the braintrust behind AdHitProfits, a Ponzi-board “program” in part targeted at people who also were targeted in the egregious 2013 Profitable Sunrise cross-border scam in which millions of dollars appear to have vanished overseas.
As the PP Blog reported on June 2, 2013 (italics added):
A spammer hit a Profitable Sunrise Facebook site yesterday with five drive-by offers for “AdHitProfits.” All five of the machine-gunned theft bids claimed the same thing: “make money every half an hour…100% commission let your money grow for you at high speed.”
The AHP “program” also is being pitched on the Ponzi boards, with the thread-starter at MoneyMakerGroup bragging that “Payza, STP & Liberty Reserve Accepted !!”
LibertyReserve was described last week by federal prosecutors in New York as a criminal enterprise that had laundered more than $6 billion for Ponzi schemers, credit-card fraudsters, identity thieves, investment fraudsters, computer hackers, child pornographers and narcotics traffickers.
Traffic Monsoon allegedly used PayPal, SolidTrustPay and Payza, a processing firm under fire from the court-appointed receiver in the Zeek Rewards Ponzi- and pyramid-scheme case. Payza also is involved in a federal investigation centered in the District of Columbia.
In its complaint against Traffic Monsoon and Scoville, the SEC says PayPal restricted Traffic Monsoon during the winter, in January 2016.
Our research shows that Scoville then turned to Payza for the heavy lifting and that Payza attended a Traffic Monsoon event in May 2016, during the spring and while funds in PayPal had been frozen by PayPal.
From the SEC complaint (italics added):
After the PayPal freeze, Scoville began using other payment processors more extensively: Solid Trust Pay, headquartered in Ontario, and Payza, headquartered in London with offices in New York. He has also used an account at JPMorgan Chase to receive investor funds.
Zeek used both SolidTrustPay and Payza, as did the AdSurfDaily Ponzi scheme before it.
Traffic Monsoon’s haul appears to have exceeded $200 million, potentially making it one of the largest advertising “revshare” schemes of all time. As things stand, it is larger than other well-known revshare frauds such as AdSurfDaily ($119 million) and Banners Broker ($156 million). Some of the Banners Broker cash reportedly ended up in KulClub, yet another Ponzi-board MLM scheme.
Ponzi-board schemes are eviscerating wealth globally. It is not unusual for such schemes to use multiple payment processors and to target vulnerable population groups. Agencies from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security have been involved in a number of major investigations of Ponzi-board “programs.”
It is unclear if DHS or other U.S. agencies with the power of arrest are involved in a Traffic Monsoon probe. History has shown, however, that when the SEC brings a civil case, other agencies sometimes carry out criminal investigations on a parallel track.