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

Saturday, December 31, 2022

December 2022 Ponzi Scheme Roundup

Posted by Kathy Bazoian Phelps 

Below is a summary of the activity reported for December 2022. Closing out the year, at least 13 new Ponzi schemes were reported this month. There were 2 guilty pleas and 3 criminal convictions. About 70 years of prison sentences were imposed. The average age for the alleged Ponzi schemers was approximately 45. Please feel free to post comments about these or other Ponzi schemes that I may have missed. 

Rodney Buckle, 65, of Nevada, was arrested and accused of running a Ponzi scheme through businesses called Rodd United, Rodd U, and Rodd One. He called himself a life coach and financial advisor, offering supposed guidance on stock investments and sports betting. Buckle’s co-defendant, Warisra Stevens, pled guilty last year to securities fraud and was sentenced to 19 months in prison. 

David Carmona, Marco Ruiz Ochoa, Moses Valdez, Juan Arrellano, David Brent, and Gustavo Rodriquez were charged in connection with two alleged cryptocurrency Ponzi schemes known as IcomTech and Forcount Trader Systems (later known as Weltsys). Francisley Da Silva, Juan Tacuri, and Antonia Perez Hernandez were also charged in connection with their involvement with Forcount. IcomTech and Forcount were purported cryptocurrency mining and trading companies. Investors were promised returns in exchange for their purchase of purported cryptocurrency-related investment products. As investors started making complaints because they could not make any withdrawals, the promotes started offering proprietary crypto-tokens known as “Icoms” in the IcomTech scheme and “Mindexcoin” in the Forcount scheme, that they represented would eventually be worth a lot of money. More than $8.4 million was raised in connection with the schemes.

Mauricio Chavez, 41, and Giorgia Benvenuto, 55, are being investigated by the SEC in connection with an alleged Ponzi scheme run through CryptoFX, LLC. More than 5,000 are believed to have invested in the company, which targeted mostly Latino immigrants. Investors were promised up to 15% profit per month.

Milendophe Duperier, 31, and his fiancée, Vanessa Joseph, of Massachusetts, were charged in connection with an alleged Ponzi scheme that targeted members of the Haitian community. Duperier is the son of a pastor at a Haitian church, and he worked with Joseph to keep the scheme going for over 2½ years. The pair represented that they had discovered a method to achieve profits by trading options in both bear and bull markets. Neither had any formal training in investing, however. They promised annual interest rates of 60%, paid monthly, but allegedly used the money for their personal expenses, and to buy real estate and luxury vehicles.

John Fernandez, 26, and his two companies, Avail Progression and Elite Generators, were charged by the SEC on allegations that the unregistered schemes were operating fraudulent forex trading schemes. The SEC alleges that they raised over $4.3 million and defrauded more than 100 investors. Fernandez represented that he was a “trading savant with a proven track record who could guarantee returns up to 100% based on his trading strategies in the forex markets.” Instead, Fernandez misappropriated the money to fund his personal lifestyle and made a “litany of excuses” when investors asked for their returns. 

Andrew Fuller, 55, is facing extradition in connection with an alleged Ponzi scheme run through Bordeaux Cellars Ltd. and Bordeaux London. Fuller is accused of lying about the size and vintage of the firm’s fine wine collection and defrauding investors out of $99 million. Fuller is alleged to have assisted the firm founder Stephen Burton, who pleaded guilty in 2019. Fuller denies the charges and opposes his extradition.

Eugene Fusting, 79, and Christopher Fusting, 52, father and son, were convicted of running a Ponzi-like scheme through a pooled investment fun in securities. They obtained $800,000 but spent the money on personal expenses instead. Eugene was sentenced to 18 months home detention, and Christopher will serve 12 months home detention.

Karl Sebastian Greenwood pleaded guilty to charges in connection with the OneCoin Ponzi scheme. Greenwood was a co-founder of the scheme along with Ruja Ignatova. The scheme took in more than $4 billion worldwide.

Christopher Humphries, 48, lost his motion to dismiss charges by the SEC against him in connection with an alleged scheme run through CJ Investments LLC. A court found that the SEC properly alleged that Humphries sold unregistered securities, was not a registered broker or dealer, and made misleading misrepresentations in connection with an alleged Ponzi scheme run by Las Vegas attorney, Matthew Beasley.

Austin Delano Page, 27, was sentenced to 8 years in prison and Brandon Alexander Teague, 27, of North Carolina, was sentenced to 4 years in prison in connection with a scheme that defrauded over 300 victims out of more than $4 million. Page and Teague were operating the hedge fund scheme through D&T Investment Group and were supposedly investing in various securities. They promised that principal investments were guaranteed and that investors would receive 70% of the trading profits.

Christopher A. Parris, 42, of Georgia, was sentenced to 20 years and 4 months in prison and ordered to pay $160 million in restitution in connection with the scheme run with business partner, Perry Santillo, 41, through Lucian Development that raised money for City Capital Corporation, a business run by Ephren Taylor. The scheme involved over $115.5 million and defrauded over 1,000 victims. Parris had previously pleaded guilty. Santillo was previously sentenced to 17½ years in prison.  In addition to the Ponzi scheme, Parris had also offered to sell the veterans administration $125 million worth of N95 masks through his company Encore Health Group, and attempted to get a $3 million dollar payment upfront, knowing he did not have the masks. 

Volodimyr Pigida, 48, was convicted on charges relating to a multimillion Ponzi scheme that he ran with his wife, Marina Bondarenko, 39, through Trend Sound Promoter AMG Corp. The scheme was a “work-at-home” email scheme that supposedly conducted advertising and music promotion over the internet. The scheme brought in $22 million, but investors lost about $11 million. Bondarenko pleaded guilty in 2019 and was sentenced to 3 years, 2 months in prison.

Mark Ramkishun, 28, of New York, was charged on allegations that he was running a Ponzi scheme that defrauded more than 20 people out of more than $1.3 million. He targeted members of the Healing Center Church, and the church also invested in the scheme. 

Frank Schneider is facing charges in connection with the $4 billion OneCoin Ponzi scheme according to a 2020 indictment unsealed this month. The OneCoin scheme was launched in Bulgaria in 2014, founded by Ruja Ignatova who remains at large. Christopher Hamilton has been extradited to the U.S. and Robert McDonald has avoided extradition on human rights grounds. Mark Scott, the lawyer behind OneCoin, was found guilty in the U.S. of laundering $400 million for the scheme.

Jeremy Spence, 25, of Rhode Island, was ordered to pay over $2.8 million in restitution in connection with the Coin Signals cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme. Spence fraudulently solicited investors to invest in digital assets such as bitcoin and ether. He was sentenced to 3½ years in prison in connection with the scheme.

Jay Taylor II pleaded guilty in connection with a $14 million Ponzi scheme that defrauded more than 70 investors. More than 70 investors lost more than $3.5 million in an oil and gas scheme. Taylor promised returns from oil and gas sales revenue on refurbished leases. Bill Marcum Jr. is a co-defendant in connection with the scheme.

Frederick Voight, 65, was sentenced to 6½ years and ordered to pay over $40 million in restitution in connection with a Ponzi scheme run from 2009 to 2018. Voight ran the scheme through F.A. Voight and Associates, LP, (FAVA), Voight Financial Services, Inc., and Daystar Funding, LP.  Voight represented to investors that he would search for companies that had an "excellent and innovative product in a growing market" but were short of the cash needed to take their product to market. The investors lost more than $40 million. 



At least 7 people were arrested in connection with an alleged Ponzi scheme. Godevari Street ran the scheme through Nine Star Enterprises, bringing in funds and then fleeing with the money. Vanaparthi Venkata Naga Mani Kumar, 48, was one of the accused that was arrested.


Michael Ben-Ari aka Michael Greenfeld was extradited from Bosnia in connection with a $150 million Ponzi scheme. Ben-Ari is to stand trial for allegedly defrauding investors for 15 years in a large scam in Israel. Ben-Ari has been called the “Israeli Madoff” and ran the scheme through his investment company, EGFE Israel Ltd.


A bench warrant was issued for Dr. Victoria Yemisi Imase-Regal in connection with an alleged N36.45 Ponzi scheme. She was charged along with her four companies, Yellowpoint Group, Media Enterprise, Yellowpoint Investment Limited and Yellow Point FT. International Limited.


Sidra Humaid has been accused of stealing about Rs 420 million from investors, mostly women, in a Ponzi scheme. Humaid owns the “Daily Bites” which is a monthly ballot committee system, and she promoted her scheme on social media.


Ryan Cagod Ladoing, 36, is on the run as authorities investigate a scheme Ladoing ran through Silverloin Livestock Trading Corp. Criminal charges were filed against the company's incorporators and officers Renan Lara Ladoing, Rosemarie Alvarez Guzman, Neña Ewayan Algoy, John Paul Dellara Lopez, Michael Villalobos Berja and Ladoing.

Regulators issued cease and desist orders against Sophia Francisco Holding OPC and Beastnessallday Corp. The scheme guaranteed earnings as much as 3% daily for 20 days, or 10% to 12% per month and supposedly involved investments, sale of gadgets, real or personal properties, luxury vehicles, shoes and other apparels.

Authorities confirmed that OTCJKE (also known as OTC Automated Trading Platform and JKE International Limited) and the A Power (also known as APower Pro, A Power PH, APower Power Bank, APower Power Bank Sharing Solution OPC) are illegally soliciting investments. OTCJKE represented that it was a “high-frequency trading encryption platform,” and promised investors that they would earn between 3% and 8% daily which they could withdraw anytime. APower represented that it was a Silicon Valley company and is “an innovative intelligent infrastructure manufacturer and operator for consumer scenarios, that it is committed to mobile charging solutions, providing users with convenient and timely mobile power rental services.”

Authorities are warning the public to exercise caution in dealing with Royal Bull Master Trading International and SPBoss (SPower or Sun Power) as they are alleged to be running Ponzi schemes. The companies were offering 120% returns in 7 days and 180% in 30 days. Investors were also promised 10% to 50% referral commissions.

South Korea

Six executives in the V Global cryptocurrency scheme were sentenced. V Global was a crypto exchange that promised around 50,000 investors 300% returns along with referral fees for brining in new customers.  Mr. Yang and Mr. Oh received 8 and 3-year sentences, respectively, and four others received three-year sentences and five years of probation. The CEO known as Mr. Lee was sentenced to 22 years in early 2022.


James Robinson, 46, and David Kennedy, 47, were arrested in Spain in connection with the Bar Works Ponzi scheme. They received more than $2 million in commissions from their efforts through their company, United Property Group, to solicit more than $7.5 million into the scam. The U.S. is seeking extradition of the two. The Bar Works scheme offered investments into former bars and restaurants around the world and obtained more than $57 million from at least 800 victims. One of the other perpetrators, Briton James Moore, 60, was previously sentenced to 11 years in prison, and Savraj Gata-Aura, 36, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 4 years.  Renwick Haddow, the main promoter of the scheme, has not yet been sentenced.

United Arab Emirates

Edvard Sabirov was arrested in connection with the Finiko investment scheme that defrauded investors in Russia out of about $95 million. Zygmunt Zygmuntovich was arrested in UAE early in the month, and Russia is pursuing extradition of both back to Russia. Finiko was a crypto investment fund and operated as a multilevel marketing scheme that offered returns of up to 5% a day. Marat Sabirov is still at large.