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Ponzi Fugitive Faked Death, Went on “Inglorious” Ride

Posted in Ponzi Profiles

Universal Pictures

The story of Aubrey Lee Price, a 47-year-old Georgia banker who faked his own death after pulling off a $40 million Ponzi scheme, is entering a new phase. The now long-haired, bearded Price, who changed his appearance while on the run until his capture on New Year’s Eve of last year, was able to strike a plea bargain with federal prosecutors, agreeing to admit his guilt to three individual charges of securities fraud, wire fraud and bank fraud. Facing up to 30 years in prison and the requirement of paying $51 million in restitution, Price stated to the judge:

I genuinely and humbly accept responsibility for my unlawful behavior and criminal conduct. I betrayed and lost the confidence of my fellow man.

A onetime Baptist preacher, Price had run his own investment advisory, Price Financial Group (PFG) before he disappeared on a ferry in Key West, FL, in 2012. Leaving a letter behind, he declared his intention to commit suicide after PFG’s attempt to save the failing Montgomery Bank & Trust in the small town of Ailey, GA, resulted in tremendous damage for his investors. As it turned out, Price had long been running PFG as a Ponzi scheme wherein he paid out false returns, papered over with phony account statements, in order to conceal massive losses to client principal from bad trades. The bank venture was an attempt to recover this money, but that too collapsed as Price repeated the process of diverting funds and losing them in more bad trade decisions.

Having faked his death, Price claims he made his way down to South America, where he supposedly worked in management for a drug lord named “Pedro,” and would eventually return to the Southeast US to help run a network of marijuana grow houses for Pedro’s syndicate. He also claims to have ingested plenty of narcotics during his run from the law, from marijuana and cocaine to methamphetamines, morphine, Xanax and Adderall. Price says his time on the lam was “the most inglorious period” of his life. His sentencing date is yet to be announced.

 

AUBREY LEE PRICE

  • Age: 47
  • Job: Bank Director
  • Company: PFG, LLC, Montgomery Asset Management
  • Alleged Scam: Equities Trading
  • Ponzi Time: 2009-2012
  • Amount of Fraud: $40 million
  • Location: Brooklyn, NY
  • Indictment: Securities Fraud, Wire Fraud, Bank Fraud
  • Court: US District Court, Eastern District of NY

Michael A. Hackard, Meriam Hansen, Nou Lee and Jeremy Rutledge are experienced in prosecuting civil actions against Ponzi scheme perpetrators as well as defending and resolving clawback cases filed by Bankruptcy Trustees and SEC Receivers. If you have been a victim in a Ponzi scheme and face legal action, contact Hackard Law today.

Wannakuwatte Files for Bankruptcy

Posted in Bankruptcy Clawback News, Legal Representation, Ponzi Profiles, Wannakuwatte Bankruptcy

Prominent Sacramento businessman Deepal Wannakuwatte, already having admitted to engineering a massive Ponzi scheme, has now filed a $134 million Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in US Bankruptcy Court. As part of his plea deal with federal prosecutors, the 63-year-old Wannakuwatte agreed to the filing as well as forfeiture of bank accounts and property, plus anywhere from $8 million to $12 million of pending federal income tax refunds. After fraudulently raising hundreds of millions for phony VA contracts, Wannakuwatte was arrested by authorities in February and made his guilty plea to a charge of wire fraud last month in US District Court.

While $134 million in debt, the former owner of the Sacramento Capitals indicated he holds only $15.9 million in assets. Since Wannakuwatte has declared limited assets (most of which is held in real estate), his several dozen creditors are unlikely to be repaid anywhere near approaching their losses from the Ponzi scheme. Not only that – bankruptcy clawbacks are most likely on the horizon once a trustee is appointed to the case. Impacted investors (“net winners” and possibly even “net losers”) must now be concerned with the fallout from the Wannakuwatte bankruptcy – they could potentially be targeted for clawback litigation.

Wannakuwatte will be sentenced on July 24th, but the civil litigation phase of the case is just beginning. Investors should be aware of the danger of lawsuits filed against them by a bankruptcy trustee in the very near future. In addition, any viable possibility for recovery for Wannakuwatte’s victims would have to be pursued in litigation against third parties who demonstrated negligence or complicity in the scheme.

Michael A. Hackard, Meriam Hansen, Nou Lee and Jeremy Rutledge are experienced in prosecuting civil actions against Ponzi scheme perpetrators as well as defending and resolving clawback cases filed by Bankruptcy Trustees and SEC Receivers. If you have been a victim in a Ponzi scheme and face legal action, contact Hackard Law today.

Second Rothstein Partner to Plead Guilty

Posted in Ponzi Profiles

Stuart Rosenfeldt   local10.com

The Scott Rothstein Ponzi case is rather like a cluster bomb of sensationalism and misery, having blanketed a wide radius of South Florida’s business and civic elite with scandal. Now the latest figure to come under federal prosecution is Stuart Rosenfeldt, formerly partner in onetime Fort Lauderdale powerhouse law firm Rothstein, Rosenfeldt and Adler (RRA), which is now just another crater from the $1.4 billion Ponzi scheme that Rothstein engineered.

Rosenfeldt, 59, has been charged with criminal conspiracy for arranging the police intimidation of an escort and her boyfriend after the latter attempted to blackmail him over his extramarital sexual liaisons. Rosenfeldt’s lawyer has indicated that his client will plead guilty and has been cooperating with the US Attorney. Soon all three of RRA’s ex-partners will be sitting in Club Fed – Rothstein’s already under witness protection for a 50-year stay, and like Rosenfeldt, Russell Adler has also struck a plea deal on campaign corruption and will be sentenced June 27th.

Rosenfeldt’s position is especially unfortunate, considering accounts of him offered in The Ultimate Ponzi, an excellent inside breakdown of the Rothstein scheme by Fort Lauderdale PR executive Chuck Malkus. Malkus, who spent time with Rosenfeldt and came to know him well, shows a good man who increasingly compromised his moral standards due to his close personal and business relationship with Rothstein. As Malkus told me recently:

Stuart Rosenfeldt was roped in and convinced to do things which he didn’t think twice about.  Stuart was Scott Rothstein’s first victim and unfortunately for Rosenfeldt, he made a few poor choices that result in serving time behind bars. Rosenfeldt chose to join Scott Rothstein in forming a law firm after Rothstein made him feel like a ‘family member.’  It is unfortunate that Rosenfeldt missed some of the red flags in The Ultimate Ponzi and now Stuart is the 24th person to be charged.  In my book, Stuart admitted that he passed on an opportunity to walk away from it all – it was Rosenfeldt’ s second poor choice which now leads to a prison term.

Malkus went on to warn, however, that the Rothstein case is far from over. With a statutory deadline set for prosecutions expiring in November, he forecasts that “bankers, hedge funders and even politicians” are up next for indictment, and if found guilty, their sentences should be stiff.

Michael A. Hackard, Meriam Hansen, Nou Lee and Jeremy Rutledge are experienced in prosecuting civil actions against Ponzi scheme perpetrators as well as defending and resolving clawback cases filed by Bankruptcy Trustees and SEC Receivers. If you have been a victim in a Ponzi scheme and face legal action, contact Hackard Law today.

Ponzi Funds Diverted for Kid Fashions, Say Authorities

Posted in Ponzi Profiles

Castle Rock

A Chicago investment advisor has been charged by federal authorities with engineering a sizable Ponzi scheme. Neal V. Goyal, 33, is alleged by the US Attorney’s Office to have operated a fraudulent investment program that bilked 35 victims out of $11.4 million. In addition to facing criminal counts, he is also is on the receiving end of a SEC civil action. While Goyal promoted the image of a successful fund manager for several years, agency representatives contend he actually “stole the vast majority of the money he raised.”

From 2006 to 2014, Goyal ran his own investment advisory business under the entities Caldera Advisors and Blue Horizon Asset Management. He claimed to have achieved wild success in long-short equities trading with resultant annual returns of 17-38%. Yet according to court documents, Goyal in reality traded piecemeal amounts at a loss and recycled most of client principal into fictitious interest, creating the illusion of a profitable enterprise. Both his criminal information and the SEC complaint also state that while one of his funds ceased trading entirely in 2009, Goyal continued to send investors bogus account statements detailing a steady increase in profits.

Besides allegedly pumping out false returns, Goyal is said to have spent client funds creating the appearance of a well-heeled, bustling investment firm with a high-end office and several employees. And then there were the luxury vacations, a million-dollar residence and the expansion a clothing boutique chain for children. As one of our great contemporary philosophers might ponder, “Is our children dressing fashionably?”

 

NEAL V. GOYAL

  • Age: 33
  • Companies: Caldera Advisors, Blue Horizon Asset Management
  • Job: Investment Advisor
  • Alleged Scam: Long-Short Equities
  • Ponzi Time: 2006-2014
  • Amount of Fraud: $11.4 million
  • Victims: 35
  • Location: Chicago, IL
  • Information: Wire Fraud
  • Court: US District Court, Northern District of IL

Michael A. Hackard, Meriam Hansen, Nou Lee and Jeremy Rutledge are experienced in prosecuting civil actions against Ponzi scheme perpetrators as well as defending and resolving clawback cases filed by Bankruptcy Trustees and SEC Receivers. If you have been a victim in a Ponzi scheme and face legal action, contact Hackard Law today.

Vincent Singh, Sister Made Bollywood Rom-Com

Posted in Bankruptcy Clawback News, Ponzi Profiles

Fine Art Pictures

The sister of Northern California resident Vincent Thakur Singh, recently convicted in Sacramento for operating a $20 million investment scam, has turned out to be worthy competition for her sibling in matters of fraud. Sushila Devi Mosese of Auckland, New Zealand, pleaded guilty in that nation’s court system to embezzling $4.5 million from her employer. A “deeply spiritual woman who is in tune with the universe,” Mosese was the corporate controller at the logistics and transport company Mainfreight, where she had worked and cultivated her co-workers’ trust since 1988.

Besides siphoning off millions from Mainfreight for her own enrichment, Mosese actually played a role in her brother’s Ponzi scheme when she made a movie using funds Singh transferred to her. Promising 190 fellow-members of the Fijian-Indian community in Northern California high-returns off of “hard-money” loans through his company Perfect Financial, Singh not only gambled away $12 million in client principal, but also misappropriated $870,000 toward a Bollywood film that his sister produced. Shot in New Zealand in 2008, Love Has No Language seems to be a romantic comedy abounding with passion, awkward hilarity and plenty of extended dance routines. Mosese is listed as the producer under the name of Sue Moses, while Singh is honored as executive producer.

Like her brother Vincent in America, Mosese was a prominent figure among the local Fijian-Indian community. She was only fired by Mainfreight in August of last year after evidence of embezzlement from company accounts was discovered. The trustee in the bankruptcy resulting from Singh’s Ponzi scheme has indicated he will attempt to recover funds applied toward the movie. Singh is set to be sentenced in US District Court next month, while Mosese will learn her own fate in July.

Here’s a preview for Love Has No Language:

Michael A. Hackard, Meriam Hansen, Nou Lee and Jeremy Rutledge are experienced in prosecuting civil actions against Ponzi scheme perpetrators as well as defending and resolving clawback cases filed by Bankruptcy Trustees and SEC Receivers. If you have been a victim in a Ponzi scheme and face legal action, contact Hackard Law today.