Securities Fraud Cases: Ponzi Scam Operator Sentenced to Prison, Fund Manager Pleads Guilty, Ex-Options Trading Instructor Allegedly Misappropriated Investor Funds, & $1.7M Financial Scam Leads to 10-Years Behind Bars

SEC Charges Man Accused of Running $10M Ponzi Scam
Mark Anderson Jones, whom the US Securities and Exchange Commission has charged with fraud, has been sentenced to 70 months in prison in a parallel criminal case. Jones pleaded guilty to running a $10M Ponzi scam.

According to the SEC, Jones solicited investors in a number of US states, as well as in Washington DC. He did this by issuing promissory notes, as well as providing personal guarantees to clients that were willing to invest in The Bridge Fund, which supposedly lent money to Jamaican businesses that were waiting to get commercial bank loans.

However, rather than investing their money the way he said he would, Jones used a portion of investors’ cash to pay his own expenses as well as make Ponzi payments.

Investment Fund Manager Admits to Fraud Conspiracy
Nicholas Mitsakos has pleaded guilty to conspiring to bilk investors. Mitsakos, who ran Matrix Capital Markets, touted a fake investing track record to customers.

According to prosecutors, Mitsakos told prospective investors that he supervised over $60M of asset when, in reality, he didn’t oversee any client assets at all until a Cayman Islands fund gave him about $2M to invest. He claimed yearly returns were at 20-66% percent between ’12 and ’15.

Prosecutors said that Mitsakos spent about $800K of investors’ money on his own expenses. He lost a substantial chunk of the $1.2M of their money that he did invest.

Ex-Trading Teacher Accused of Bilking Private Fund Investors
The SEC has filed securities fraud charges against Gustavo A. Guzman, an ex-options trading instructor. The Commission is accusing him of misappropriating investor monies and making material misrepresentations.

According the regulator’s complaint, between at least 4/2010 and at least 8/2015, the ex-trading instructor raised over $2.1M from investors for a supposed equity options fund and a real estate fund. He then misappropriated about a third of thee money in these funds to pay himself as well as cover his own spending. He also used the money to make Ponzi payments.

Meantime, investors received fake tax documents and account statements. The paperwork inflated returns to hide that Guzman had lost the rest of investors’ money through options trading that did not fare well.

Man Accused of Affinity Fraud Gets 10 Years
Michael Dale Bennis, who pleaded guilty in a $1.7M affinity fraud, is sentenced to 10 years behind bars. Bennis bilked friends and their relatives. Several of them gave him their life savings to invest.

He started day trading after another business of his failed during the financial crisis. Bennis began committing financial fraud in 2012 when he set up PRISM Alliance, an investment group.

Bennis sent false emails to investors talking about the trades that he was making, as well as spreadsheets that made it appear as if they were making high returns on the millions of dollars. He even set up a fraudulent investment fraud agreement and generated false tax documents.

Aside from serving time in prison, Bennis must pay his victims restitution, as well as $200K to the IRS for unpaid taxes.

At Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas, LTD LLP, our securities fraud lawyers are committed to helping our clients try to recover their losses. Contact our securities firm today.

Ponzi Scheme Operator Sentenced to Prison in Parallel Criminal Case, SEC, May 25, 2017

The SEC Complaint in the Jones Case (PDF)

Purported Hedge Fund Manager Pleads Guilty To Fraud Conspiracy Charges, FIN Alternatives, May 6, 2017

The SEC Complaint in the Guzman Case (PDF)

York man gets 10 years in $1.7 million financial fraud case, Daily Press,May 24, 2017

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