Troy Barnes, ‘Achieve Community’ Ponzi Schemer, Sentenced To 33 Months

Troy A. Barnes ran “The Achieve Community” (TAC) scam along with Kristine L. “Kristi” Johnson.

Barnes, 53, of Riverview Mich., now has been sentenced to 33 months in federal prison, the office of U.S. Attorney Jill Westmoreland Rose announced. Johnson, of Colorado, earlier was sentenced to 21 months.

Achieve was a Ponzi-board program that used a “triple algorithm” cover story to fleece investors, the SEC said in  a February 2015.

Through Rose’s office, the U.S. Secret Service later charged Barnes and Johnson criminally.

Similar to other schemes, Achieve participants were told they were not making an investment and the company wasn’t offering one, despite dangling a return.

From a statement by prosecutors (italics added):

According to court filings, as the scheme grew in size and scope, Barnes and Johnson concealed the true nature of the scheme through multiple misrepresentations. According to court records, when the conspirators became concerned that the use of the term “investment” would draw scrutiny from regulators, they instructed victim-investors, “We ARE NOT an INVESTMENT program, please don’t use that term when you speak or post about our re-purchase strategy.” Even when TAC was unable to operate because their payment processor concluded that TAC was indeed operating a Ponzi scheme and ceased doing business with the company, Barnes and Johnson lied to victims, falsely stating that, “The only reason that [TAC] is not paying out today is that our processor can’t handle the volume of money we are paying our members.”

Achieve created more than 10,000 victims worldwide, prosecutors said.

Barnes also was sentenced to three years’ probation after his release, ordered to forfeit $4.7 million and to pay $302,297 in restitution, prosecutors said.

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