The Securities and Exchange Commission has received an emergency order to stop a Ponzi scam that bilked victims of about $26 million. Investors in PermaPave Companies were promised significant returns if they would place their money behind water-filtering natural stone pavers. According to the SEC, which has filed a securities complaint, Eric Aronson, a convicted felon, is the mastermind behind the scheme.
Aronson, who pleaded guilty to fraud in another case more than 10 years ago, is now accused of persuading about 140 people to buy promissory notes from PermaPave Companies and promising up to 33% in returns. Between 2006 and 2010, Aronson and company executives Robert Kondratick and Vincent Buonauro Jr., allegedly used new investor money to pay older clients while spending some of the Ponzi funds on gambling trips to Las Vegas, jewelry, and expensive cars. He also allegedly misappropriated about $2.6 million to repay victims of the earlier securities scam to which he entered a guilty plea.
Some of the investors’ funds that went into the Ponzi scam were also allegedly used to buy Interlink-US-Network, Ltd., which was a publicly traded company. Interlink later put out a Form 8-K falsely stating that LED Capital Corp. had said it would put $6 million into it. LED Capital did not have the money and never made such an agreement.
The SEC says that when investors began demanding that they be paid the money they were owed, Aronson accused them of committing a felony because they lent PermaPave Companies money at interest rates that were exorbitant—even though he was the one who promised them such high percentages. The Commission is accusing both Aronson and attorney Frederic Aaron of making false statements to get investors to change their securities into ones that would defer payments owed for several years.
U.S. District Court Judge Jed S. Rakoff is granting the SEC’s request that the defendants and relief defendants’ assets be frozen. Meantime, the Commission wants to bar Aronson, Buonauro, and Kondratick from being able to work as directors and officers of public companies and keep them from taking part in penny-stock offerings. The SEC also wants permanent and preliminary injunctions against the defendants, the return of illicit profits plus prejudgment interest, and civil monetary penalties.
Aronson, Kondratick, and Buonauro have been arrested in connection with the Ponzi scam.
To succeed, Ponzi schemes need to bring in new clients so that their money that they invest can be used to pay older clients their promised returns. Unfortunately, with hardly any legitimate earnings, Ponzi scams can fall apart when it becomes a challenge to recruit new investors or too many investors ask to cash out.
SEC Files Emergency Action to Halt Green-Product Themed Ponzi Scheme, SEC.gov, October 6, 2011
3 New York Men Arrested In Alleged Landscaping Ponzi Scheme, The Wall Street Journal, October 6, 2011
SEC Claims Author Used Ponzi Scheme to Repay Prior Fraud Victims, Bloomberg Businessweek, October 6, 2011
More Blog Posts:
SEC Chairman Criticized For Allowing Ex-Commission Official that Benefited from the Bernard Madoff Ponzi Scam to Help Craft Policy Regarding Victims’ Compensation, Institutional Investor Securities Blog, September 23, 2011
Michael Kenwood Capital Management, LLC Principal Pleads Guilty to Securities Fraud Involving Ponzi Scam, Institutional Investor Securities Blog, March 17, 2011
Merrill Lynch Faces $1M FINRA Fine Over Texas Ponzi Scam by Former Registered Representative, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, October 10, 2011
Our securities fraud attorneys represent investors that have lost money in Ponzi scams. We are here to help our clients recoup their losses.