Three California men have been arrested for running an alleged $200 million Ponzi scheme that targeted Bay Area retirees. James Stanley Koenig, Gary T. Armitage and Jeffery A. Guidi are accused of creating a network of 55 business ventures, which they presented as safe real estate investments that offered up to 12 percent returns.
According to the charges filed by the Attorney General’s office on May 22, the funds were instead used to “bankroll their extravagant lifestyles.” In a press release issued May 22, the Attorney General said the men swindled thousands of retirees out of their life savings to purchase an 80-acre castle estate, a Lear jet and luxury cars.
The arrests come at the conclusion of a yearlong probe into AGA Financial. According to investigators, the men began holding “investment planning seminars” in 1997 to encourage people to invest their savings in construction and real estate projects across California.
According to the charges, as many as 2,000 retirees invested with AGA Financial over 10 years; and, though the alleged Ponzi scheme began to collapse in April 2007, the men recruited as much as $23 million from 91 new investors. An article on the arrests, and ongoing coverage of the story, can be found at the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.
The High Court of Namibia has ruled to allow Jacob “Kobi” Alexander to remain, and work, in Namibia pending decisions on both the renewal of his work permit and the U.S. extradition request filed in July 2006.
Alexander – who has been charged in the U.S. with 35 criminal counts related to securities fraud – claimed in court to have invested more than N$70 million in Namibia, reports The Namibian. The government lawyer argued without success that as “a fugitive from international justice,” Alexander should not be permitted to work. His extradition hearing, which has been repeatedly postponed, is set for June 9.
The SEC filed a complaint in 2006 against Alexander and two other executives of Comverse Technology Inc., a New York company that designs and manufactures telecommunication systems and software. The men are accused of backdating millions of Comverse stock options to days when the shares traded for lower prices for their own personal gain. Authorities allege that Alexander made $8 million, David Kreinberg $1.5 million, and William F. Sorin more than $1 million from the scheme.
A Canadian hedge fund manager who calls himself the “Chinese Warren Buffet” is facing fraud charges by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Weizhen Tang is accused of running a Ponzi scheme since at least 2006 with his hedge fund Oversea Chinese Fund Limited Partnership. Tang raised as much as $50-75 million from 200 investors – many of them Chinese-Americans in Texas, where he ran WinWin Capital Partners LP.
The SEC claims that Tang sent a letter to investors in which he admitted to posting false profits on account statements and using funds from new investors to distribute up to $8 million in fake profits to earlier investors.