Here we go again and, I gotta tell ya, I'm getting' a bit tired or reporting about these Ponzi frauds and their affinity group targets. The Securities and Exchange Commission charged Ricardo Boniall Rojas, 53, Arecibo, Puerto Rico and his company, Shadai Yire, with conducting a Ponzi scheme from about August 2005 through February 2009 that targeted evangelical Christians and factory workers in Puerto Rico.
According to the SEC, this alleged scam targeted some 200 investors to the tune of about $7 million.
The SEC has filed a Complaint in the United States District Court in Puerto Rico seeking disgorgement, financial penalties, and injunctive relief; and a separate criminal action against Rojas was also filed in that same court.
NOTE: The charges in the complaints are merely allegations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until convicted in a court of law.
As with most of these rip offs, the SEC alleges that the victims were promised 100% guaranteed safety for their investments with a robust 5% to 50% annual return through commodities investments. Ummm . . . 100% safe with 50% in commodities? Commodities?? Oh for godsakes. Really?
By now it should not come as much of a revelation that Rojas allegedly pocketed some $700,000 and used the overage to repay earlier investors - the classic Ponzi ruse. Allegedly, Rojas hired some sales agents to help him solicit investors. Not surprisingly, these agents received a percentage of the funds raised - a nice, juicy commission, which probably wasn't disclosed to the folks solicited. And, as with virtually all of these investor frauds, the SEC alleges that Rojas fabricated bogus account statements that helped keep investors in the dark as to the true status of their investments.
As noted in the SEC's press release:http://sec.gov/news/press/2012/2012-161.htm
"Rojas targeted novice investors who were often evangelical Christians, and he touted a long history of successful trading in commodities," said Eric I. Bustillo, Director of the SEC's Miami Regional Office. "In reality, he was fleecing the flock."
For a rogue's gallery of recent Ponzi scams covered in "Street Sweeper," READ:
- SEC Charges Ponzi Fraud Literally Involved Lunacy (Lunar cycles/gravity influence believers)
- SEC Persian Jewish Affinity Fraud Case Is Not A New Bravo TV Series (Persian Jewish)
- SEC Alleges That Social Capitalist Ripped Off Churchgoers With Ponzi Scam (African American, Christians)
- Tenacious D and the Battle of Christian Rock Bands' Ponzi Fraud (Evangelical Christians)
- UPDATE: God Makes Wind, The Apostles Market It, And James Rivera Sells It (Evangelical Christians)
- Diamond Dust: Prominent Cuban-American Florida Jeweler Named in Affinity-Fraud Ponzi Scheme (Hispanics)
- SEC Charges Unregistered Brokers From Unregistered Firm Sold Fictitious Securities in Affinity Scam (Caribbean, African-American)