Kathy Bazoian Phelps
Senior Counsel in Ponzi Scheme Litigation
and Bankruptcy Matters

Kathy is a senior business trial attorney with more than 30 years experience prosecuting and defending claims for high net worth clients involved in Ponzi scheme matters and in bankruptcy proceedings. Kathy’s practice includes recovering assets for clients in complex fraud cases under standard fee and alternative fee arrangements. She also handles SEC and CFTC whistleblower claims. Kathy also serves as a mediator in bankruptcy matters, in complex business disputes, and in matters requiring detailed knowledge about fraud or Ponzi schemes.

Kathy’s Clients in Ponzi Scheme Cases and Bankruptcy Matters
Equity Receivers
Bankruptcy Trustees
High Net Worth Investors
Debtors in Bankruptcy
Secured and Unsecured Creditors

Thursday, June 30, 2022

June 2022 Ponzi Scheme Roundup

Posted by Kathy Bazoian Phelps 

Below is a summary of the activity reported for June 2022. The reported stories reflect at least 6 new Ponzi schemes worldwide, one guilty plea, more than 50 years of prison sentences, and an average age of approximately 53 for the alleged Ponzi schemers. Please feel free to post comments about these or other Ponzi schemes that I may have missed. 

Robert C. Bridgforth was the subject of a final cease and desist order issued by the Missouri Secretary of State’s Securities Division in connection with a scheme run through Liberty Gold and Silver. Bridgforth is to pay civil penalties of $3.3 million, restitution, interest, and costs and is barred from working in the securities sector.

Michael David Carroll, 46, of California, was sentenced to more than 8 years in prison and ordered to pay more than $1.3 million in restitution in connection with a $1.4 million Ponzi scheme. Carroll was already serving a 70-month sentence for a fraud conviction but continued to lie to investors in soliciting new investments. He previously pleaded guilty and admitted misrepresenting investments based on short term bridge loans that promised returns of 40% to 50%. He ran the schemes through MCC Holdings, SLJ Holdings, and STR America Holdings.

Patrick Churchville of Rhode Island, and his investment advisory firm, ClearPath Wealth Management LLC, were the subject of a final judgment and permanent injunction sought by the SEC. The SEC had alleged that their fraudulent conduct resulted in at least $27 million in losses to more than 100 investors and that they had stolen approximately $2.5 million for personal use. Churchville and previously pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 7 years in prison.

Joey Stanton Dodson, 58, of California, pleaded guilty to charges related to a $15 million Ponzi scheme run though Citadel Energy Partners. Dodson raised money from 50 investors in a scheme run through three limited partnerships, Fort Berthold Water Partners L.P., Citadel Watford City Disposal Partners L.P., and H20 Partners L.P.  The scheme supposedly involved services for oil and gas companies in North Dakota. 

Alan Hansen, 51, was sentenced to 8 years in prison and ordered to pay $619 million in restitution in connection with the DC Solar Ponzi scheme. Hansen is a former executive of the company that marketed solar generator units. He had previously worked for a telecom company that did business with DC Solar and accepted $1 million from co-conspirators in agreeing to fraudulently sign a false leasing contract for the generators. Jeff Carpoff, who ran the scheme, was previously sentenced to 30 years in prison, Joseph Bayliss was sentenced to 3 years, and CFO Robert Karmann was sentenced to 6 years. Carpoff’s wife, Paulette Carpoff, 51, previously pleaded guilty and was just sentenced to 11 years and 3 months. Ronald J. Roach, 55, and Ryan Guidry, 45, are scheduled to be sentenced later this year. 

Bernard Ross Hansen, 61, and Diane Renee Erdmann, 49, of Washington, were sentenced to 11 years and 5 years, respectively, after being caught while they were on the run avoiding sentencing. The pair were convicted of running a Ponzi scheme through Northwest Territorial Mint. The scheme allegedly defrauded 3,000 investors out of more than $30 million in connection with a gold and silver bullion scheme. Hansen and Erdmann were arrested after a hotel employee recognized them.

Michael Mooney, 52, Britt Wright, 49, and Penny Flippen, 59, were charged by the SEC in connection with an alleged $110 million Ponzi scheme. The three former investment advisor representatives assisted in the scheme run through Southport Capital, aka Livingston Group Asset Management Company that were owned and managed by John J. Woods. Woods also controlled an investment fund called Horizon Private Equity III LLC and was charged in 2021 with operating Horizon as a Ponzi scheme. Money, Wright and Flippen recommended that at least $62 million of their clients’ fund be invested in Horizon, promising returns of 6% to 8% and a guaranteed return of their principal. Approximately 400 investors were owed more than $110 million.

Joshua Nicholas, 28, Emerson Pires, 33, and Flavio Goncalves, 33, were charged by the SEC with running a scheme through Empires Consulting and EmpiresX in Florida. The companies supposedly were trading businesses that used finance automation technology. The scheme supposedly conducted proprietary trading through an automated “Ex Bot” that generated 1% daily profits.

Blake Robert Templeton and his companies Boron Capital, LLC, Boron Holdings 2017, LLC, and United BNB Fund 2018, LLC were sued by the SEC on allegations that they were operating a Ponzi scheme. They raised $18.7 million for a supposed house flipping business, but  used $14 million to buy and develop the Dallas Oasis, a wedding venue in Texas. Templeton is accused of misrepresenting that the investments would be protected by collateral when in fact they were not. Interest was paid to investors using funds from new investors.

INTERNATIONAL PONZI SCHEME NEWS 

Australia

Remi Capital fka C2 Capital and its founder, Peter Terrill, are suspected of running a Ponzi scheme owing $124 million, including $61 million owed to 312 investors. Terrill was ousted from Remi Capital in 2021 but received a substantial exit package including $600,000 payout and Mercedes-Benz Roadster. 

Canada

Charles Debono, 63, was sentenced to 7 years in prison in connection with a Ponzi scheme that defrauded more than 500 investors out of more than $29 million. He promised investors returns a 15-cent return on every transaction from a bogus debt machine business known as Debt Direct.

Arnold Breitkreutz, 74, was found guilty in connection with a scheme run through Base Finance that promised returns from supposed secured mortgages on real estate in Alberta. In reality, investor funds were loaned to an oil and gas promoter in Texas. Investment losses totaled more than $100 million. 

England

Robert Newland, 43, is facing extradition to the US from the United Kingdom after being accused of assisting an alleged £68m Ponzi-like scheme. Newland allegedly supplied false documents to assist Inigo Philbrick, 34, who has been dubbed the “Mini Madoff of the art world, in running the scheme. Philbrick was sentenced to 7 years in prison in connection with the scheme.

Nigeria

Ovaioza Yunusa was charged by authorities on accusations that she was running a Ponzi scheme. 

Authorities declared Pastor (Dr) Miebi Bribena aka Onyimiebi Bribena, and his wife, Beatrice Bribena, wanted for running an alleged Ponzi scheme that took in N2 billion.

Philippines

The SEC revoked the registration of Intime Import and Export Corp. on allegations that it was running a Ponzi scheme. The scheme promised returns of 3% to 5% per day.