USFIA Ponzi fraud climbs to $180 million
Back in July the USFIA Receiver estimated that the Ponzi scheme took in $164 million.
This was a huge increase from the $32 million the SEC estimated when they shut down the scheme.
In his fourth interim report, filed on September 2nd, the Receiver now estimates USFIA took in at least $180 million.
Forensic accounting on USFIA’s “disorganized” records continues, with the Receiver reporting he expects it will be completed by September 30th.
At that point we’ll hopefully know the exact number of investors USFIA ripped off and exactly how much.
Other than that, there’s not much new information to report on in the Receiver’s latest filing.
- USFIA’s Arcadia headquarters will likely be sold off soon, with the Receiver currently determining the value of the property
- the Hills Garden Hotel in San Bernardino, purchased by USFIA in August, 2015, is now “marginally profitable” and will also be sold off soon
- a “marginally profitable” 36-unit apartment building owned by USFIA in Alhambra has been recommended for sale
- an unoccupied mansion in Bradbury, referred to as the “Clubhouse” and used by USFIA for “fundraising and investor relations”, has been recommended for sale
- “eviction actions” have been taken against non-rent paying tenants living in a single family home and condo owned by USFIA in Arcadia
- approximately 860 acres of vacant land near Moreno Valley owned by USFIA has been recommended for sale
- $76,120 was recovered from the sale of Steve Chen’s Mercedes S550 after it was recovered from Jan’s Towing
Finally, the Receiver has also identified several other single family homes purchased with funds from the Receivership Entities and vested in other individuals or entities, including Defendant Steve Chen.
The Receiver is in contact with Mr. Chen’s counsel and the other title holders in an attempt to recover the properties without litigation, but will seek authority to file fraudulent transfer actions if the issues are not consensually resolved in the near future.
The Receiver’s report doesn’t have any information for victims regarding a claims process. Hopefully we’ll hear something about it after forensic accounting is completed on or around September 30th.
The Receiver’s Fourth Interim Report can be viewed over at the USFIA Receivership website.
I read about these schemes on a daily basis and the dollar amounts still astound me.
Oz, it would be interesting to tally up all you’ve reported on – the ones we have figures on anyway. I can’t even imagine what a grand total would be for all the fraudulent recruitment based opportunites over the years that have escaped justice.
I’m sure it’s an astronomical number, and yet this type of fraud is allowed to continue everyday in broad daylight. Hell, it’s even advertised.
When and if a scam does get busted, it’s always after the damage is done. This has to change.
Lets just say it’s well into the billions at this point. The exact figure would be a nightmare to calculate.
The SEC and Steve Chen are both asking the judge for additional time for discovery. They want the trial moved back from January to May 2017.
Oz in your opinion does this mean it could actually go to trial or maybe this is just a tactic to get more time for a settlement? Also have you heard anything more about the criminal investigation?
If Chen has hidden funds offshore that could be one reason. Not sure why he’d ask for more time, other than to stall.
The Receiver has dismantled Chen’s little empire anyway, at least what was publicly acknowledged to be his.
I had USFIA slated for an update check on Friday, will publish anything new then.
Well, the judge issued an order and he seems to be staying with the original timeline, with the trial scheduled to start in January. Wonder what is going on behind-the-scenes.