Pyramid/Ponzi Scheme – South Florida Fraud and Misrepresentation Litigation and Arbitration Attorney
Securities and Exchange Commission v. DFRF Enterprises LLC, et al., Civil Action No. 1:15 cv 12857-PBS (United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts)
SEC Halts Pyramid/Ponzi Scheme Targeting Spanish and Portuguese-Speaking Communities
The Securities and Exchange Commission recently announced fraud charges and an asset freeze against the operators of a pyramid and Ponzi scheme falsely promising a gold mine of investment opportunity to investors in Spanish and Portuguese-speaking communities in Massachusetts, Florida, and elsewhere in the U.S.
The SEC alleges that DFRF Enterprises, named for its founder Daniel Fernandes Rojo Filho, claimed to operate more than 50 gold mines in Brazil and Africa, but the company’s revenues came solely from selling membership interests to investors and not from mining gold. With the help of several promoters, they lured investors with such false promises as their money would be fully insured, DFRF has a line of credit with a Swiss private bank, and one-quarter of DFRF’s profits are used for charitable work in Africa. The scheme raised more than $15 million from at least 1,400 investors by recruiting new members in pyramid scheme fashion to keep the fraud afloat, and commissions were paid to earlier investors in Ponzi-like fashion for their recruitment efforts. The SEC further alleges that Filho has withdrawn more than $6 million of investor funds to buy a fleet of luxury cars among other personal expenses.
According to the SEC’s complaint filed June 30 and unsealed today in federal court in Boston, Filho is a Brazilian native who lives in Winter Garden, Fla., and he orchestrated the scheme with assistance from six promoters also charged in the case: Wanderley M. Dalman of Revere, Mass., Gaspar C. Jesus of Malden, Mass., Eduardo N. Da Silva of Orlando, Fla., Heriberto C. Perez Valdes of Miami, Jeffrey A. Feldman of Boca Raton, and Romildo Da Cunha of Brazil.
The SEC alleges that Filho and others began selling “memberships” in DFRF last year through meetings with prospective investors primarily in Massachusetts hotel conference rooms, private homes, and businesses. DFRF promoted the investment opportunity through online videos in which Filho falsely claimed that the company had registered with the SEC and its stock would be publicly traded. As DFRF’s marketing reach widened, membership sales dramatically increased from under $100,000 in June 2014 to more than $4 million in March 2015 alone.
The SEC’s complaint alleges that all defendants violated the antifraud provisions of Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder, and registration provisions Section 5(a) and 5(c) of the Securities Act.
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At the Boca Raton Law Office of Russell L. Forkey, we represent clients throughout South and Central Florida, including Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Sunrise, Plantation, Coral Springs, Deerfield Beach, Pompano Beach, Delray, Boynton Beach, Hollywood, Lake Worth, Royal Palm Beach, Manalapan, Jupiter, Gulf Stream, Wellington, Fort Pierce, Stuart, Palm City, Jupiter, Miami, Orlando, Maitland, Winter Park, Altamonte Springs, Lake Mary, Heathrow, Melbourne, Palm Bay, Cocoa Beach, Vero Beach, Daytona Beach, Deland, New Smyrna Beach, Ormand Beach, Broward County, Palm Beach County, Dade County, Orange County, Seminole County, Martin County, Brevard County, Indian River County, Volusia County and Monroe County, Florida. The law office of Russell L. Forkey also represents South American, Canadian and other foreign residents that do business with U.S. financial institutions, investment advisors, brokerage and precious metal firms.