BULLETIN: Man Implicated By Jamaica In Alleged $326 Million Ponzi Known As ‘Cash Plus’ Now Accused By United States Of Orchestrating Separate HYIP Scheme That Funneled Cash To Latvian And Jamaican Accounts

EDITOR’S NOTE: You might feel a chill after reading the story below about Bertram A. Hill and co-defendants implicated by the SEC in an international fraud scheme that ensnared investors in the United States and Europe. The SEC case includes an allegation that U.S. retail brokers were solicited to push unqualified clients to a murky Massachusetts firm that funneled business to Hill, who was suspended by FINRA in 2002, had an unpaid FINRA fine of $5,000 and yet somehow was operating under the radar. If that’s not shocking enough, Hill already had been implicated by Jamaican authorities in a Ponzi scheme that allegedly gathered hundreds of millions of dollars — and yet allegedly still was able to line up millions of dollars from new investors more than two years after being charged criminally with fraud in Jamaica. Records show the case in Jamaica was brought in April 2008. The new scheme, according to the SEC, began in December 2010, about two months ago. Accounts from Jamaican media in 2008 noted that “heavily armed police officers” were patrolling the grounds during a court appearance by Hill and his brother, Carlos Hill, in 2008. A “handful” of protesters unhappy that arrests had been made demanded that Carlos Hill, the alleged mastermind of the Jamaican scheme, be set free, according to the Jamaica Observer. (See link at bottom of story.) Among the victims in the later-to-emerge scheme, which the SEC alleged was unrelated to the Jamaican scheme, were a “boarding school for boys” in Brandon, Fla., a retired school teacher from California, an unidentified U.S. investor who plowed about $250,000 into the scheme, an investor in the United Kingdom who plowed at least $1.3 million into the scheme and an investor in Switzerland who plowed more than $1.8 million into the scheme.

“[T]hese securities were fictitious and nearly $3 million of investor funds were quickly wired out of the country to accounts in Latvia and Jamaica,” the SEC charged.

BULLETIN: The SEC has filed an emergency action in federal court in New Jersey to halt a “Swiss debentures” scheme allegedly operated in the United States by a man charged criminally in Jamaica with laying waste to investors in a $326 million Ponzi scheme.

U.S. District Judge Anne E. Thompson has frozen the assets of the defendants in the U.S. case, while also ordering the repatriation of assets and expedited discovery.

The Jamaican scheme, which was exposed in 2008, is known as “Cash Plus.” It has become the subject of global intrigue and an international money-chase, playing out not only in the Caribbean but also in venues such as Europe and the emirate of Dubai in the Persian Gulf. Dubai is one of seven emirates of the United Arab Emirates.

The alleged U.S.-based scheme appears to have begun in late 2010 and has the hallmarks of a prime-bank/HYIP hybrid that promised spectacular returns of up to 100 percent monthly, according to the SEC complaint.

Investigators said the U.S. case against Bertram A. Hill was “unrelated” to the alleged Jamaican fraud for which he faces trial this year, but that millions of dollars had been “spirited” to Latvia and Jamaica from bank and brokerage accounts in the United States without investors’ knowledge or permission.

Hill, according to the SEC allegations, was booted by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) amid customer complaints 2002. FINRA, the SEC said, leveled a $5,000 fine against Hill that remains unpaid

Hill, whose age was not immediately known, resides in Red Bank, N.J., according to court filings. The SEC said he presided over a company known as Secure Capital Funding Corp. (SCF), which purported to be a subsidiary of a firm known as “ST Underwriters.”

ST Underwriters, the SEC said, held itself out as a “private banking group” operating out of Panama and as a subsidiary of a company known as “Secure Trust.”

Although Secure Trust “purports to be a business operating in Switzerland,” the SEC said, it “is not authorized by the Swiss Financial Markets Supervisory Authority . . . to do financial business in Switzerland and is on FINMA’s published “black list.”

A mysterious company known as PP&M Trade Partners, which purported to be located in Elkart Ind., also was part of the fraud, the SEC alleged. PP&M was under the control of Kiavanni Pringle of Metheun, Mass., according to the agency.

Pringle, whose age was not immediately known, also has been named a co-defendant in the case. Despite the assertion PP&M was operating as a financial-services business in Indiana, the Indiana location proved to be a “warehouse where another business with which Mr. Pringle was previously associated stores televisions and other merchandise,” the SEC said.

PP&M actually was operating from Pringle’s home in Massachusetts and had “no clients” prior to November 2010, the SEC said.

Pringle and PP&M used “multiple, detailed websites” to engage retail brokers to find investors for the scheme, the SEC alleged. The brokers were offered “commissions” of up to 4 percent from purported “gains” enjoyed by clients.

“None of the offerings and sales of purported Swiss debentures made by Defendants beginning in December 2010 have been registered with the Commission by an issuer in accordance with the federal securities laws,” the SEC said. “At least some of the sales made by Defendants have been made to persons who did not qualify as ‘accredited investors’ so as to exempt Defendants from the obligation to register the securities offerings and make required disclosures. None of the Defendants ever sought or obtained an exemption from the registration requirements.”

Read the stunning SEC complaint, which asserts that at least some of the investors didn’t even know with whom they were doing business because the “true identities” of the alleged schemers were not disclosed.

Read a 2008 story in the Jamaica Observer that outlines allegations made against Hill nearly three years before a new scheme allegedly took root in the United States.

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One Response to “BULLETIN: Man Implicated By Jamaica In Alleged $326 Million Ponzi Known As ‘Cash Plus’ Now Accused By United States Of Orchestrating Separate HYIP Scheme That Funneled Cash To Latvian And Jamaican Accounts”

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