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Melbourne - assets frozen amid allegations of Ponzi scheme.

FCRO Subsection: 
Editorial Staff

How often do you read something and find out that it's not what you thought it was when you started?

For all those that leapt on "Melbourne" - it's almost certainly not the one you were thinking of.

Melbourne, Florida is where this story is developing.

The USA's Securities and Exchange Commission or SEC has announced that it has take action against Jonathan P. Maroney and several "entities" he controls. The "entities" are companies.

It is alleged that, since May 2015, Maroney and his companies "raised at least USD17.5 million from more than 100 investors in a series of fraudulent securities offerings."

The SEC says that he, using Harbor City Capital Corp. and other companies gave investors one of those generic statements that are going to become the hallmark of so-called "SPACs" - offering proceeds would be used to finance the defendants' online "customer lead generation campaigns" which would generate for "investors annual returns ranging from 10% to 60% from the resale of those leads to other businesses. "

In fact, according to the complaint, little if any investor[s'] funds actually went to the lead generation business. Instead, the complaint alleges, Maroney misappropriated at least USD4.48 million in investor[s'] funds to enrich himself and his family, including the purchase and maintenance of his waterfront home and a Mercedes Benz, and to pay for his extensive credit card bills and renovation-related expenses on the house. The complaint further alleges that Maroney misused investor[s'] money by making payments to other entities unrelated to the supposed purpose of the offerings, and that he fraudulently used investor[s'] funds to make monthly interest payments and other payouts to investors in a classic Ponzi scheme fashion.

SEC statement 26 April 2021.

The complaint also names Tonya Maroney, Maroney's wife, and Celtic Enterprises LLC, another Maroney-controlled company, as "relief defendants" for receiving proceeds from the alleged fraud. The Court set a hearing for 29 April, 2021, to determine if a preliminary injunction should be entered and whether the asset freezing order should remain in force for the duration of the litigation.

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