Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Minnesota Businessman Charged In Alleged $190 Million Ponzi Scheme Fraud
Trevor Gibson Cook, 37, of Apple Valley, Minnesota, was charged yesterday with operating a Ponzi-type investment fraud scheme that allegedly bilked as many as 1,000 investors out of at least $190 million. He faces one count of mail fraud and one count of tax evasion. Cook's scheme, which operated from January 2007 through July 2009, offered returns of as much as 12 percent on investments in a foreign-currency trading program with little or no risk, according to prosecutors. Instead of investing the funds as promised, Cook reportedly spent investment funds to pay returns to earlier investors in classic Ponzi style and used the rest to enrich himself with personal investments, real estate and to pay off large gambling debts. Cook was originally charged last November, along with Patrick "Pat" J. Kiley, 71, of Burnsville, Minnesota and a local conservative radio talk show host, of selling unregistered securities through a series of shell companies. The companies named in the SEC's original complaint include UBS Diversified Growth LLC, Universal Brokerage FX Management LLC, Oxford Global Advisors LLC, Oxford Global Partners LLC and four shell companies.