achieve-community-logoAs the SEC case against Achieve Community inches closer towards the inevitable, the DOJ’s parallel criminal case against Achieve Community’s founders also progresses.

The latest in criminal proceedings against Achieve founders Kristi Johnson and Troy Barnes, sees the DOJ now calling on victims of the $6.8 million Ponzi scheme.

As first spotted by Patrick Pretty, the DOJ case is currently in the “presentence stage”, with Kristi Johnson pleading guilty late last month. Barnes has yet to be charged.

As part of their judicial duties, the United States Probation Office has communicated the following to victims of the scheme:

The Mandatory Victims Restitution Act of 1996 provides that all identified victims directly and proximately harmed as a result of the commission of the offense in the above-entitled case receive notice of the following information:

The above-named defendant was convicted of Attempt and Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1349.  You will be notified by the U.S. Attorney’s Office when a sentencing date has been set.

According to the United States, you are a victim of this offense and may be entitled to restitution; however, our office cannot guarantee that restitution, or any particular amount of restitution will be awarded to you at sentencing.  This determination will be made by the Court.

A Sr. U.S. Probation Officer/Guideline Specialist will be preparing a Presentence Report for the U.S. District Court in Charlotte, NC.

According to the Probation Office, this report ‘will include information regarding Victims and Victim Losses‘.

To that end the DOJ requests Achieve Community victims to

submit information concerning the amount of your losses to the U.S. Probation Office by clicking on one of the following links: LINK 1 or LINK 2.

Here you will find a Victim Impact packet (with the defendant’s name, Kristine Johnson) under the tab “Victim Response” which contains a complete explanation of the type(s) of compensation you may be entitled to receive.

All claims must be accompanied by supporting documentation.

If you wish to have such information considered in the preparation of the Presentence Report, please submit the Victim Impact packet and any documentation no later than August 21, 2015.

As is custom in MLM underbelly schemes, no doubt net-winners might push the notion that the DOJ “has nothing”.

It certainly wouldn’t be the first time we’ve seen requests for information from victims twisted into having members of the public build a regulator’s case for them.

Let me be blunt and nip any such notion, pertaining directly to the DOJ’s request from Achieve victims, in the bud.

The DOJ have already built their case against Achieve Community and have submitted it in court.

(Achieve Community) ended when the SEC executed a temporary restraining order (TRO) on February 13, 2015.

When it was forced to cease operations due to the TRO, TAC had $2.6 million on deposit but owed more than $50 million to investors.

Kristi Johnson has already accepted the Ponzi fraud charges against her and plead guilty.

Nobody is going to be penalized for not submitting a victim response report, but you’re potentially not helping yourself later down the track when formal claims are to be filed.

Submit your report, help the DOJ appropriately punish those who stole from you, move on and (hopefully) learn from your experience.