SEC halts alleged Ponzi scheme

30 July 2009

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has moved to halt a Ponzi scheme that is allegedly being conducted by two firms in Detroit.

It has obtained a court order against Michigan residents John Bravata and Richard Trabulsy after they were accused of misusing investors' money.

The pair obtained over $50 million from more than 440 investors who believed they were buying into a real estate fund that offered annual returns of up to 12 per cent.

However, at least half the money was used to make payments to early investors, with a proportion of it being spent on personal items, the SEC states.

"Investors thought they were investing in a safe and profitable real estate investment fund," Merri Jo Gillette, director of the SEC's office in Chicago, stated.

Earlier this week the SEC filed charges against Abu Dhabi trader Khaled Mohammed Sharif Al Sayed Al Hashemi, who is accused of making suspicious trades relating to shares in Nova Chemicals.

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