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A Los Angeles man was sentenced this week to 240 months in federal prison for operating a Ponzi scheme that raised at least USD650 million with bogus claims that investor money would be used to acquire licensing rights to films that HBO and Netflix purportedly had agreed to distribute abroad.

FCRO Subsection: 

More than 100 people put more than USD10 million dollars into, amongst other things, a fake food business. That's a lot of money on average so we can assume these were not stupid people. George S. Blankenbaker Jr., 56 found a honey hole and worked it hard. His reward is jail.

That's not the end of the story...

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.

FCRO Subsection: 

The USA's Securities and Exchange Commission has obtained an asset freeze and other emergency relief in an emergency civil (i.e. not criminal court) enforcement action against Los Angeles-based actor Zachary Horwitz and his company, 1inMM (one in a million) Capital, LLC in connection with an alleged Ponzi scheme that raised over USD690 million. Horwitz and 1inMM allegedly told investors that they were buying film rights, purportedly to resell them to Netflix and HBO; in fact, 1inMM actually had no business relationship with either company.

FCRO Subsection: 

Ah, Shreveport. It's one of those picture postcard towns that seems more suited to a Nicholas Sparks novel or a Hallmark TV romance than to intrigue and dirty dealings. But...

For the avoidance of doubt, the demise of Carillion does not appear to actually be a Ponzi scheme.

But there are similarities between the classic Ponzi and how Carillion was functioning.

CoNet Section: 

The UK's Serious Fraud Office secured a conviction against Ponzi scheme operator David Gerald Dixon in November last year. In addition to a jail sentence, he was ordered to surrender GBP275,000 in respect of proceeds of his crime. The deadline for payment has passed and the Order has not been satisfied.

Richard Rufus used to be a soccer player for a team called Charlton Athletic. The Insolvency Service brought a case before the High Court which said that Rufus created a GBP16 million Ponzi scheme. The Insolvency Service said it was one of the worst cases they had ever seen. Rufus claimed to be a born again Christian. Victims tried to avoid being identified at the time of the civil trial which saw Rufus subject to a 15 year bankruptcy order. But now, information has come to light that a 12,000 member church in the UK has lost the best part of GBP4 million.

The Securities and Exchange Commission obtained, on 25 June 2012, a temporary restraining order and asset freeze against Wayne L. Palmer and his firm, National Note of Utah, LC alleging that he operated a real estate-based Ponzi scheme that bilked USD100 million from investors nationwide. Yet banks continued dealing with him.

BIScom Subsection: 

The Securities and Exchange Commission has obtained an emergency court order to shut down a Ponzi scheme targeting retirees in California and Illinois by inviting them to estate planning seminars and later coaxing them to buy promissory notes for purported Turkish investments.