Despite the many protections offered to investors by the FTC, the SEC, the FDIC, and other alphabet soup government organizations, people are still tricked every day into giving away their hard-earned money.
Last Friday, Jeff and Paulette Carpoff, two hucksters out of California, pleaded guilty to charges related to a Ponzi scheme they had been running hawking imaginary solar equipment.
You need to be vigilant about protecting your money.
Jacqueline Sergeant reports for Financial Advisor:
According to the complaint, between 2011 and 2018, the Carpoffs offered and sold investment opportunities through two solar energy companies, DC Solar and DC Solar Distribution Inc., in the business of making, leasing and operating mobile solar generators. The solar generators were mounted on trailers that were promoted as being able to provide emergency power to cell phone towers and lighting at sporting events.
The Carpoffs and others, the complaint said, claimed these investment opportunities would deliver gains in the form of tax benefits, guaranteed lease payments and the resulting profits from the operation of the generators.
But in reality, thousands of the purportedly profitable generators were never manufactured, let alone put into use, and the vast majority of alleged “revenue” sent to investors came from investor money, not from actual lease payments from end-users of the generators, the complaint said.
DC Solar, the complaint said, solicited investors directly and indirectly through brokers and salespeople using various methods, including e-mail, conference calls and in-person meetings. The complaint noted that DC Solar offered and sold investment fund contracts and sale-leaseback contracts through interstate commerce to investors throughout the U.S.
The company raised approximately $910 million in investor money over the course of the offerings, the complaint said, noting that these deals had face values of more than $2.7 billion because investors in the investment fund contracts financed approximately 70% of the amount of their investments through promissory notes.
The complaint said the couple used at least $140 million of investor money to fund their lavish lifestyle, which included 150 luxury and sports cars, dozens of properties and a share in a private jet service.
If an investment opportunity looks too good to be true, it’s probably not true. The person pitching it either isn’t doing a good job predicting its future value, or it’s a scam. In either case, you don’t want to tie up your money in a losing investment or lose it altogether. Be vigilant.
E.J. Smith - Your Survival Guy
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