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This is a photo of the National Register of Historic Places listing with reference number 7000063

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

CFTC SAYS WHISTLEBLOWER TO RECEIVE $290,000

FROM:  COMMODITY FUTURES TRADING COMMISSION 
September 29, 2015
CFTC to Issue Whistleblower Award of Approximately $290,000
Whistleblower Provided Valuable Information about Violations of the Commodity Exchange Act, which Resulted in an Enforcement Action

Washington, DC — The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today announced that it will make an award of approximately $290,000 to a whistleblower for providing valuable information about violations of the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA).

Under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, the CFTC’s Whistleblower Program provides monetary awards to persons who report violations of the CEA if the information leads to an enforcement action that results in more than $1 million in monetary sanctions.

Whistleblowers are eligible for 10 percent to 30 percent of monies collected.  The CFTC can also pay awards based on monetary sanctions collected by other authorities in actions that are related to a successful CFTC enforcement action, and are based on information provided by a CFTC whistleblower.  The Dodd-Frank Act whistleblower provisions also prohibit retaliation by employers against employees who provide the CFTC with information about possible violations, or who assist the CFTC in any investigation or proceeding based on such information.

Aitan Goelman, the Director of the Division of Enforcement, stated, “Receiving high quality information from whistleblowers is an essential part of the CFTC’s overall enforcement program.  Such information allows the staff to bring cases more quickly and with fewer agency resources, and we will continue to provide financial incentives for people with specific and credible information about violations of the CEA to come forward.”

According to Christopher Ehrman, the Director of the CFTC’s Whistleblower Office, “The Whistleblower Office continues to receive high quality information from whistleblowers on a regular basis. The number of tips, complaints and referrals that we receive continues to grow year over year. We are committed to whistleblowers, and we value the information that they provide.”

Monday, September 28, 2015

SEC CHARGES FATHER, THREE SONS AND OTHERS WITH DEFRAUDING INVESTORS

FROM:  U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION 
Litigation Release No. 23360 / September 24, 2015
Securities and Exchange Commission v. Jason W. Galanis, Civil Action No. 1:15-cv-07547 (Southern District of New York, Complaint filed Sept. 24, 2015)
SEC Charges Six in Stock Fraud Scheme

The Securities and Exchange Commission charged six men, including a father and three sons, with defrauding investors in Gerova Financial Group Ltd., whose shares once traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

In a parallel action, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York announced criminal charges against the six: Jason Galanis, his father John Galanis, brothers Derek Galanis and Jared Galanis, along with Gerova president and chairman Gary T. Hirst and investment adviser Gavin Hamels. Jason Galanis is a securities fraud recidivist who was charged by the SEC in 2007 and his father John Galanis has been a defendant in numerous SEC enforcement actions dating back to the early 1970s.

In a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, the SEC alleges that in early 2010, Jason Galanis and Hirst orchestrated a scheme to secretly issue $72 million of unrestricted Gerova shares to a Galanis family friend in Kosovo. According to the complaint, Jason Galanis, his father, and his brothers directed sales of the shares from the Kosovo friend’s brokerage accounts and had the proceeds wired to them and their associates who collectively realized at least $16 million in illicit profits.

In addition, the complaint names Gavin Hamels, an investment adviser that Jason Galanis allegedly bribed to purchase Gerova stock to help stabilize Gerova’s stock price as the shares were liquidated. The complaint alleges that many of the purchases were coordinated in matched trades with the Kosovo friend’s sales. Hamels is alleged to have purchased Gerova stock for clients based on arrangements with Jared Galanis regarding the times, prices, and amounts of stock to purchase, and is alleged to have failed to inform his clients of the bribe from Jason Galanis.

The complaint charges Jason Galanis, Jared Galanis, Derek Galanis and Hirst with violations of Sections 5(a) and (c) of the Securities Act of 1933 (“Securities Act”); Jason Galanis, Jared Galanis and Derek Galanis with violations of Section 17(a)(1) of the Securities Act; Jason Galanis, Jared Galanis, Derek Galanis and Hamels with violations of Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rules 10b-5(a) and (c) thereunder; John Galanis and Hirst with violations of Section 20(e) of the Exchange Act for aiding and abetting violations of Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act, and Rules 10b-5(a) and (c) thereunder; Jared Galanis with violations of Section 20(e) of the Exchange Act for aiding and abetting violations of Section 9(a)(1) of the Exchange Act; and Hamels with violations of Section 9(a)(1) of the Exchange Act, and Sections 206(1) and (2) of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (“Advisers Act”). In addition, the Commission alleges, in the alternative, that Derek Galanis violated Section 15(b) of the Securities Act by aiding and abetting violations of Section 17(a)(1); Jared Galanis and Derek Galanis violated Section 20(e) of the Exchange Act by aiding and abetting violations of Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act, and Rules 10b-5(a) and (c) thereunder; and Hamels violated Section 209(f) of the Advisers Act by aiding and abetting violations of Sections 206(1) and (2) of the Advisers Act.

The complaint seeks a final judgment permanently enjoining the defendants from committing future violations of these provisions, ordering them to disgorge their ill-gotten gains plus prejudgment interest, imposing financial penalties and barring Jason Galanis and Hirst from acting as officers or directors of a public company.

The SEC’s investigation was conducted by H. Gregory Baker, Christopher Ferrante, Leslie Kazon, and Sheldon Pollock of the New York Regional Office. The litigation will be led by Nancy A. Brown and Mr. Baker. The SEC thanks the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of New York, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for their assistance in this matter.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

CFTC SETTLES WASH SALES CASE INVOLVING BITCOIN

FROM:  U.S. COMMODITY FUTURES TRADING COMMISSION 
September 24, 2015
CFTC Settles with TeraExchange LLC, a Swap Execution Facility, for Failing to Enforce Prohibitions on Wash Trading and Prearranged Trading in Bitcoin Swap

Washington, DC – The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today issued an Order filing and simultaneously settling charges against TeraExchange LLC (Tera), a provisionally registered Swap Execution Facility (SEF), for failing to enforce its prohibition on wash trading and prearranged trading on the SEF platform.  The CFTC Order requires Tera to cease and desist from future violations relating to its obligations to enforce rules on trade practices.  Tera is based in Summit, New Jersey.

Specifically, the CFTC Order finds that Tera offered for trading on its SEF a non-deliverable forward contract based on the relative value of the U.S. Dollar and Bitcoin, a virtual currency (the Bitcoin Swap).  On October 8, 2014, the only two market participants authorized at that time to trade on Tera’s SEF entered into two transactions in the Bitcoin Swap.  The transactions were for the same notional amount, price, and tenor, and had the effect of completely offsetting each other.  At the time, these were the only transactions on Tera’s SEF.

Tera arranged for the two market participants to enter into the transactions.  Tera brought together the market participants, telling one that the trade would be “to test the pipes by doing a round-trip trade with the same price in, same price out, (i.e. no P/L [profit/loss] consequences) no custodian required,” according to the Order.

However, subsequent to the transactions, Tera issued a press release and made statements at a meeting of the CFTC’s Global Markets Advisory Committee (GMAC) announcing the transactions, creating the impression of actual trading interest in the Bitcoin swap.  Neither Tera’s press release nor the statements at the GMAC meeting indicated that the October 8 transactions were pre-arranged wash sales executed for the purpose of testing Tera’s systems.

As a provisionally registered SEF, Tera is required under the SEF Core Principles of the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) and CFTC Regulations to enact and enforce rules prohibiting certain types of trade practices on the SEF, including wash trading and prearranged trading.  Tera’s rulebook, in fact, prohibited those practices.

The CFTC noted in the Order that “[t]hese facts should be distinguished from a situation where a SEF or other designated contract market runs pre-operational test trades to confirm that its systems are technically capable of executing transactions and, to the extent that these simulated transactions become publicly known, makes it clear to the public that the trades do not represent actual liquidity in the subject market.”

The CFTC appreciates the assistance of the Division of Market Oversight. CFTC Division of Enforcement staff members responsible for this case are Andrew Ridenour, Kim Bruno, Daniel Jordan, and Rick Glaser.

Friday, September 25, 2015

CFTC ORDERS CARGILL DE MEXICO TO PAY $500,000 FOR ROLE IN WASH SALES SCHEME

FROM:  COMMODITY FUTURES TRADING 
CFTC Orders Cargill de México SA De CV to Pay $500,000 for Unlawfully Executing Wash Sales on the CBOT and KCBT

Washington, DC – The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today issued an Order filing and simultaneously settling charges against commodities trading company Cargill de México SA De CV (Cargill de México) for executing wash trades involving corn, soybean, and wheat futures contracts on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) and wheat futures contracts on the Kansas City Board of Trade (KCBT). The CFTC order requires that Cargill de México pay a $500,000 civil monetary penalty.

The Order finds that on multiple occasions between March 2010 and August 2014 Cargill de México engaged in wash sales and unlawful non-competitive transactions in certain agricultural futures products, including corn, soybeans, and wheat on the CBOT, as well as in hard red wheat traded on the KCBT. Before orders for these trades were entered on an exchange, Cargill de México employees, either acting alone or with another employee, entered equal and opposite transactions in the same futures contract for another account that was also owned by Cargill de México, and matched the product, quantity, price, and timing of those orders and trades. The Order finds that by so prearranging, structuring, and entering these orders, which negated the risk incidental to an open and competitive marketplace, Cargill de México also engaged in noncompetitive transactions.

In addition to imposing the $500,000 civil monetary penalty, the Order also requires Cargill de México to comply with certain undertakings. First, the Order requires Cargill de México to conduct training for certain personnel addressing the ethics, compliance, and legal requirements of the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) and CFTC regulations with regard to prearranged, fictitious, or noncompetitive trading. Second, the Order requires Cargill de México to submit a report to the CFTC’s Division of Enforcement representing (i) that Cargill de México has adopted policies and procedures designed to prevent any potential prearranged, fictitious, or noncompetitive trading in violation of the CEA and CFTC regulations, (ii) that Cargill de México has conducted certain training sessions for relevant personnel, and (iii) that Cargill de México has begun using the self-match prevention technology available on the front end system provided by its primary clearing firm. Finally, the Order requires Cargill de México to cease and desist from further violations of Section 4c(a)(1) of the CEA and CFTC Regulation 1.38(a), as charged.

The CFTC thanks the CME Group, Inc. for its assistance in this matter.

CFTC Division of Enforcement staff members responsible for this case are Trevor Kokal, James G. Wheaton, Lenel Hickson Jr., and Manal M. Sultan.

Monday, September 21, 2015

SEC ACCUSES COMPANY PRESIDENT OF TRANSFERRING TWO-THIRDS OF INVESTOR FUNDS INTO PERSONAL ACCOUNT

FROM:  U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION F
Litigation Release No. 23354 / September 18, 2015
Securities and Exchange Commission v. Robert DeWayne Milligan, Civil Action No. 2:15-cv-07308 (C.D. Cal.)
SEC Charges President of America's Natural Energy with Oil and Gas Investment Fraud

The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced charges against Robert DeWayne Milligan, who was president of a California-based business known as America’s Natural Energy (“ANE”), for engaging in the fraudulent offering of unregistered securities.

According to the SEC’s complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, from at least May 2010 through May 2014, Milligan raised over $1.3 million from approximately 39 investors in multiple states for ANE, which he represented to be a business engaged in oil and gas exploration in the Williston Basin of North and South Dakota. According to the complaint, ANE was, in reality, primarily a scheme that Milligan used to fund his personal lifestyle, which included cash withdrawals, gambling, travel, and shopping. The SEC alleges that, in raising funds from investors, Milligan made material misstatements and omissions regarding, among other things, the status of ANE’s drilling projects, his business experience, and the use of investor funds, including his transfer of nearly two-thirds of the funds he raised for ANE into his personal bank accounts. As a result of Milligan’s alleged misconduct, ANE’s investors have suffered substantial losses.

The Complaint charges Milligan with violating Sections 5(a), 5(c), and 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10(b) thereunder. The Commission is seeking a permanent injunction, an accounting, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains plus prejudgment interest, and civil monetary penalties against Milligan.

This matter was investigated by Lee Robinson and Anne Romero under the supervision of Ian Karpel, all of the SEC’s Denver Regional Office. Zachary Carlyle will lead the litigation.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

CALIFORNIA MAN CHARGED BY CFTC WITH FRAUD RELATED TO PRECIOUS METALS

FROM:  U.S. COMMODITY FUTURES TRADING COMMISSION 
September 11, 2015
CFTC Charges California Resident Hannes Tulving, Jr., through his company, The Tulving Company, Inc., with Misappropriation and Fraudulent Solicitation in a $17.8 Million Precious Metals Scheme
At Least 381 Customers Nationwide Allegedly Defrauded in the Scheme

Washington, DC — The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today filed a civil Complaint against Defendants Hannes Tulving, Jr. of Newport Beach, California, and his company, The Tulving Company, Inc., charging them with fraudulent solicitation and misappropriation in connection with the precious metals markets. Neither Defendant has ever been registered with the CFTC.

In its enforcement action, the CFTC alleges that the Defendants fraudulently offered contracts of sale of commodities in interstate commerce, namely, contracts for the sale of gold, silver, platinum, and palladium bullion and coin (precious metals). In offering these contracts, the Defendants obtained and misappropriated at least $17.8 million from at least 381 customers located throughout the United States for the purchase and sale of precious metals, according to the Complaint.

In their solicitations, the Defendants allegedly made false and fraudulent representations, including that The Tulving Company was a highly reputable, stable, and established precious metals firm that delivered precious metals to customers; that it bought and sold in excess of $2.1 billion in precious metals from 1999 through March 2013; and that precious metals were shipped quickly to customers after placement of orders and receipt of customer funds. These representations were false, according to the Complaint.

The Defendants allegedly purchased and sold little or no precious metals with the funds they collected from customers. Instead, according to the Complaint, the Defendants defrauded customers by lying to them and misappropriating their funds for improper and unauthorized uses, including for the Defendants’ own financial benefit.

To conceal their fraud, according to the Complaint, the Defendants made false and/or deceptive statements, including falsely representing that (1) customers owned specific amounts of precious metals when, in fact, they did not, (2) customers holdings in precious metals had significant value when, in fact, the non-existent holdings had no value whatsoever, and (3) customers were realizing profits from their investments when, in fact, no profit whatsoever had been realized.

In its continuing litigation, the CFTC seeks restitution to defrauded customers, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, a civil monetary penalty, permanent registration and trading bans, and a permanent injunction against future violations of federal commodities laws, as charged.

CFTC Division of Enforcement staff members responsible for this case are Luke B. Marsh, Richard Foelber, Dmitriy Vilensky, and Paul G. Hayeck.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Keynote Address by Commissioner Sharon Y. Bowen before ISDA North America Conference

Keynote Address by Commissioner Sharon Y. Bowen before ISDA North America Conference

SEC ANNOUNCES $6.5 MILLION JUDGEMENT IN CASE INVOLVING STOCK MANIPULATION THROUGH FALSE PRESS RELEASES

FROM:  U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION 
Litigation Release No. 23349 / September 16, 2015
Securities and Exchange Commission v. 8000, Inc., Jonathan E. Bryant, Thomas J. Kelly, and Carl N. Duncan, Esq., Civil Action No. 12-civ-7261 (S.D.N.Y., Complaint filed Sept. 27, 2012)
Court Orders Company to Pay More Than $6.5 Million in U.S. Stock Manipulation Scheme

The Securities and Exchange Commission announced today that on September 14, 2015, a federal court in New York entered a final judgment by default against 8000, Inc., a Virginia-based company, that ordered it to pay $6,525,000 in a civil penalty in a stock manipulation case filed by the Commission in 2012. The Commission alleged that the Company issued numerous false press releases to inflate the value of the company so that certain parties could benefit.

In addition to 8000, Inc., the Commission's complaint, filed on September 27, 2012, also charged Jonathan Bryant, a consultant for the company as well as the company's former Chief Executive Officer, Thomas Kelly of Levittown, Pennsylvania, and the company's attorney, Carl N. Duncan of Bethesda, Maryland. The complaint alleged that the defendants participated in a scheme to manipulate the trading volume and price of 8000 Inc.'s common stock by disseminating false information about the company and simultaneously selling or facilitating the sale of its securities which were not supposed to be for sale to the general public. According to the complaint, from November 2009 through October 2010, Bryant and Kelly disseminated financial reports and press releases falsely representing that 8000, Inc. had millions of dollars in capital financing and revenues when, in fact, the company had neither. As 8000, Inc.'s stock price rose based on the false information they were disseminating, Bryant profited by selling 56.8 million "restricted" shares of 8000, Inc. into the market. Because the shares were restricted, they should not have been sold into the market at that time. The complaint alleged that Duncan provided false legal opinions removing the trading restrictions on the stock, and that Kelly profited from the scheme by buying and selling the company's securities in the secondary market. The complaint alleged that the defendants' scheme increased the volume of trading in 8000, Inc. by 93% and the company's stock price from less than $0.01 per share to $0.42 per share between November 2009 and October 2010.

In addition to ordering 8000, Inc. to pay $6.5 million, the final judgment entered by the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York permanently enjoins 8000, Inc. from future violations of various antifraud and securities registration sections of the federal securities laws, including Sections 5(a), 5(c), and 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 (Securities Act) and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (Exchange Act) and Rule 10b-5 thereunder.

The judgment against 8000, Inc. concludes the Commission's case. Defendants Bryant, Kelly, and Duncan all previously settled the Commission's action. Bryant consented to the entry of a final judgment that was entered on April 7, 2015. The final judgment permanently enjoined Bryant from future violations of Sections 5(a), 5(c), and 17(a) of the Securities Act and Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act and Rule 10b-5 thereunder. The final judgment also ordered Bryant to disgorge the $2,969,525 in profits that he realized from selling 8000, Inc.'s restricted securities and to pay $198,659.70 in pre-judgment interest. Additionally, the final judgment barred Bryant from acting as an officer or director of any issuer that has a class of securities registered pursuant to Section 12 of the Exchange Act, and permanently barred him from participating in an offering of a penny stock.

Kelly consented to the entry of a final judgment that was entered on June 6, 2013, which permanently enjoined Kelly from violating Section 17(a) of the Securities Act and Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act and Rule 10b-5 thereunder. It also permanently barred Kelly from acting as an officer or director of any issuer that has a class of securities registered pursuant to Section 12 of the Exchange Act, and permanently barred him from participating in an offering of a penny stock. On September 2, 2014, after a hearing, the court ordered Kelly to pay $415,569 in profits that he realized from trading in 8000 Inc.'s securities in the secondary market and to pay $46,697 in pre-judgment interest.

Duncan agreed to settle the Commission's action at the time it was filed. In December 2012, the court entered a final judgment against Duncan that permanently enjoined Duncan from violating Sections 5(a), 5(c), and 17(a)(2) of the Securities Act, permanently enjoined him from participating in the preparation and issuance of certain opinion letters, bars him from participating in an offering of a penny stock, and ordered him to disgorge $15,570 in unlawful proceeds and to pay $524.98 in prejudgment interest and a $25,000 civil money penalty. Duncan also consented to an administrative order issued pursuant to Rule 102(e)(3) of the Commission's Rules of Practice permanently suspending him from appearing or practicing before the Commission as an attorney.

The SEC would like to thank the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority for their assistance in this matter.

Friday, September 11, 2015

CFTC ANNOUNCES COMMODITY POOL FRAUDSTER SENT TO PRISON FOR 17 YEARS

FROM:  U.S. JUSTICE DEPARTMENT 
September 9, 2015
Commodity Pool Operator Sentenced to 17 Years’ Incarceration for Fraud

Washington, DC — Donovan Davis Jr., one of three Principal Defendants charged by the CFTC for the fraudulent operation of Capital Blu Management, LLC of Melbourne, Florida, was sentenced to 17 years in a federal prison on August 27, 2015.

Davis was convicted on May 14, 2015 of multiple counts of criminal conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering in connection with the operation of a fraudulent $17 million commodity pool. The two other Co-Defendants in the CFTC action, Blayne Davis and Damien Bromfield, earlier pleaded guilty to similar criminal charges. B. Davis was sentenced to 9 years in prison; Bromfield’s sentencing is scheduled for September 24.

CFTC Enforcement Director, Aitan Goelman, said “These sentences serve as a strong reminder that those who engage in fraud in the commodities markets face the very real possibility of criminal prosecution and jail time in addition to the civil sanctions sought by the CFTC.”

In 2011, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida found these same Defendants liable for civil violations of the Commodity Exchange Act and CFTC Regulations and ordered them to pay more than $7 million each in restitution and civil monetary penalties and permanently barred them from engaging in any commodity-related activity (see CFTC Press Release, Order, and Judgment 6054-11, June 15, 2011, and CFTC Press Release and Complaint 5643-09, April 7, 2009).

The CFTC subsequently provided material assistance to the U.S. Attorney’s office responsible for the criminal prosecution of these Defendants.

Friday, September 4, 2015

THREE INDICTED IN ALLEGED $54 MILLION "GREEN ENERGY" FRAUD

FROM:  U.S. JUSTICE DEPARTMENT 
Thursday, September 3, 2015
Indictment Charges Three People with Running $54 Million “Green Energy” Ponzi Scheme

An indictment was unsealed today charging three people in an investment scheme, involving a Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania-based company, that defrauded more than 300 investors from around the country.  Troy Wragg, 34, a former resident of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Amanda Knorr, 32, of Hellertown, Pennsylvania, and Wayde McKelvy, 52, of Colorado, are charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit securities fraud, securities fraud and seven counts of wire fraud, announced U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and Special Agent in Charge William F. Sweeney Jr of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division.

As the founders of the Mantria Corporation, Wragg and Knorr allegedly promised investors huge returns for investments in supposedly profitable business ventures in real estate and “green energy.”  According to the indictment, Mantria was a Ponzi scheme in which new investor money was used to pay “earnings” to prior investors since the businesses actually generated meager revenues and no profits.  To induce investors to invest funds, it is alleged that Wragg and Knorr repeatedly made false representations and material omissions about the economic state of their businesses.

Between 2005 and 2009, Wragg, Knorr and McKelvy, through Mantria, intended to raise over $100 million from investors through Private Placement Memorandums (PPMs).  In actuality, they raised $54.5 million.  Wragg and Knorr were allegedly able to raise such a large sum of money through the efforts of McKelvy.  McKelvy operated what he called “Speed of Wealth” clubs which advertised on television, radio and the internet, held seminars for prospective investors and promised to make them rich.  According to the indictment, McKelvy taught investors to liquidate all their assets such as mutual funds and 401k plans, to take out as many loans out as possible, such as home mortgages and credit card debt and invest all those funds in Mantria.  During those seminars and other programs, Wragg, Knorr and McKelvy allegedly lied to prospective investors to dupe them into investing in Mantria and promised investment returns as high as 484 percent.

It is further alleged that Wragg, Knorr and McKelvy spent a considerable amount of the investor money on projects to give investors the impression that they were operating wildly profitable businesses.  Wragg, Knorr and McKelvy allegedly used the remainder of the funds raised for their own personal enrichment.  Wragg, Knorr and McKelvy allegedly continued to defraud investors until November 2009 when the SEC initiated civil securities fraud proceedings against Mantria in Colorado, shut down the company, and obtained an injunction to prevent them from raising any new funds.  A receiver was appointed by the court to liquidate what few assets Mantria owned.

In order to lure prospective investors, it is alleged that Wragg, Knorr and McKelvy lied and omitted material facts to mislead investors as to the true financial status of Mantria, including grossly overstating the financial success of Mantria and promising excessive returns.

“The scheme alleged in this indictment offered investors the best of both worlds – investing in sustainable and clean energy products while also making a profit,” said U.S. Attorney Memeger.  “Unfortunately for the investors, it was all a hoax and they lost precious savings.  These defendants preyed on the emotions of their victims and sold them a scam.  This office will continue to make every effort to deter criminals from engaging in these incredibly damaging financial crimes.”

“As alleged, these defendants lied about their intentions regarding investors’ money, pocketing a substantial portion for personal use,” said Special Agent in Charge Sweeney Jr.  “So long as there are people with money to invest, there will likely be investment swindlers eager to take their money under false pretenses.  The FBI will continue to work with its law enforcement and private sector partners to investigate those whose greed-based schemes rob individuals of their hard-earned money.”

If convicted of all charges, the defendants each face possible prison terms, fines, up to five years of supervised release and a $1,000 special assessment.

The criminal case was investigated by the FBI and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert J. Livermore.  The SEC in Colorado investigated and litigated the civil securities fraud charges which formed the basis of the criminal prosecution.      

An indictment is an accusation.  A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
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