Colorado recovers $2.1 million from investment scammers
Giving themselves a pat on the back, an announcement from DORA, the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies, today celebrates the recovery of $2.1 million from investment scammers.
The sum was recovered from various investment scams dating back to 2013, with the Colorado Securities Division praised for their efforts.
After completing an analysis of its 2014 numbers, the Division of Securities, which is responsible for regulating and enforcing compliance with state standards by investment agencies and professionals, as well as protecting the public from fraudulent investment schemes, opened and completed a total of 149 major fraud investigations in 2013 and 2014.
These inquiries resulted in 17 felony criminal prosecutions, 31 civil cases, and approximately $18 million in court-ordered restitution.
At least $2.1 million of that amount was returned to investors, with some of the funds no-doubt being fines and other recoveries ordered to be paid back incrementally.
“Our investigative team has done a tremendous job of uncovering and pursuing an ever-more complicated and far-reaching range of frauds and investment scams,” said Colorado Securities Commissioner Gerald Rome.
“I believe our numbers show that their work has paid off for Colorado’s investors.”
Examples of Colorado’s regulators shutting down fraudulent investment schemes in the state include
the 2013 prosecution and conviction of Gregory Russell who, along with multiple partners, operated a Ponzi scheme that robbed unsuspecting investors out of $3.8 million.
Russell, who was prosecuted by the Denver District Attorney’s Office, has been ordered to pay the full amount in restitution, and is currently serving 18 years in prison.
Additionally, a 2014 civil action brought by the Division against Leland Energy Inc., which purportedly sold fraudulent oil and gas securities through an unlicensed solicitor, was ordered to pay a total of $700,000 to victims over seven years.
To date, $100,000 of that amount has been returned.
Personally I’m surprised at the amount of investment fraud taking place there. Hopefully the agencies efforts have put a damper on the plans of would-be investment fraud masterminds.
“Securities fraud losses are notoriously some of the hardest funds to recover from offenders, but the numbers we’ve shown are very reassuring.
I am confident that we will continue to see high returns for our efforts on behalf of investors as we continue into 2015,” said Rome.
DORA’s warning comes shortly after it confirmed an investigation into the Achieve Community has been opened.
Kristi Johnson, one of the owners of Achieve Community, lists her Facebook profile location as Denver, Colorado.
What with Achieve Community advertising an 800% ROI on a $50 investment, I have a sneaking suspicion DORA will be adding a hefty sum to monies recovered sometime over the next few months.
At the time of publication, various web properties belonging to Achieve community were unresponsive.
In a message to Achieve investors, Troy Barnes (co-owner of Achieve with Johnson), advised affiliates that work was being performed on their servers.
We are working on our servers, so if you go to our website and it’s down.
Please don’t worry, we are just making things better for all.