Ever since the Madoff Scandall was revealed the SEC has stepped up its efforts to uncover other ponzi schemes, fraud, and basically any illegal wrong doing surrounding investors and money. The SEC efforts have been very noticeable as case after case is now being brought to light.
Three of the recent cases put forth by the SEC are pretty horrific, and thus we have all three to highlight and feature for you (Note: this list is not in any particular order):
1. SEC Uncovers Ponzi Scheme Targeting Deaf People
Hawaii-based Billions Coupons and its CEO Marvin R. Cooper, "raised more than $4.4 million from 125 investors since at least September 2007 by holding investment seminars at community centers for investors who were deaf." But it gets worse as Cooper, "pocketed at least $1.4 million in investor funds to pay personal expenses as well as purchase a new home." Nice...
2. UBS hides $14.8 Billion in customer assets away in Swiss Accounts to avoid taxes
"The Justice Department claimed in the lawsuit that as many as 52,000 U.S. customers hid their UBS accounts from the government in violation of the tax laws. As of the mid-2000s, those secret accounts held about $14.8 billion in assets, the Justice Department said, citing a UBS document filed with the lawsuit." The SEC has filed a lawsuit to force USB to reveal all 52,000 identities and yesterday UBS, "agreed to pay $780 million for helping U.S. customers avoid taxes."
3. SEC Charges Stanford for $8 Billion ponzi scheme using CDs
"Stanford's Antigua-based bank, Stanford International Bank, sold roughly $8 billion of certificates of deposit to investors through a network of financial advisers by promising 'improbable and unsubstantiated' high interest rates, the regulator said in a statement. The rates were 'supposedly' earned through the bank's investment strategy, which 'purportedly' allowed the bank to achieve double-digit returns on its investments for the past 15 years, the SEC added." The CFO James Davis and CIO Laura Pendergest-Holt are also being charged.
The recent activity and findings spur some interesting questions that I would love to know...
What will the SEC possibly discover next? What was the SEC doing the last x years? Why did it take Madoff to trigger the SEC to flex its muscles? How many ponzi scheme are there going on right now, seriously?
SEC Uncovers Ponzi Scheme Targeting Deaf Investors
Provided by CNBC on Yahoo Finance
February 19th, 2009, 12:14 pm EST
U.S. files suit to force UBS to reveal clients' identities
MarketWatch, February 19th, 2009
SEC charges Stanford in alleged $8 billion scheme
MarketWatch, February 17th, 2009