Kidney Dialysis Scam
Earlier this week, the SEC froze a recent scheme involving investments in kidney dialysis clinics in New Zealand. While it sounds like a bad plotline, Christopher A.T. Pedras and his two partners allegedly conned more than $5 million out of investors.
Pedras, along with business partner Sylvester M. Gray II and lead sales representative Alicia Bryan, raised more than $5.6 million from at least 50 U.S. investors since July 2010. At first, Pedras claimed he was directing client funds to a profitable trading platform. But when he had trouble paying out the promised monthly returns, he switched clients over to a publically traded New Zealand company that operated kidney dialysis clinics.
Instead, Pedras’ investments were part of a Ponzi scheme that paid out $2.4 million in “returns” using new investor money, the SEC claims. Pedras also allegedly used investor funds to pay $1.2 million in sales commissions. A judge granted the regulator’s request for a court order freezing all assets owned by Pedras and his firms, with a hearing scheduled for Friday.
Players Call Out Bank’s Fumble
Sixteen NFL Players are done playing around. The group sued Branch Banking and Trust on Thursday for negligently permitting the infamously disgraced former financial advisor Jeff Rubin of Pro Sports Financial to fraudulently drain $53 million from their accounts.
Rubin, who is not named in Thursday’s suit, is the subject of several other lawsuits and regulatory investigations over an investment scheme involving a defunct casino project he recommended to his professional athlete clients.
The NFL players—including New York Jets wide receiver Santonio Holmes Jr., Washington Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather and retired Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis—claim Rubin and his firm had a close relationship with the bank. Starting in 2006the players opened accounts with the Florida branches of the then BankAtlantic, which was acquired by BB&T in 2012.
But although the accounts were mainly meant for bill pay, the suit claims Rubin fraudulently withdrew millions from the accounts and funneled the cash into his casino venture without permission. The suit, filed in Florida, is seeking damages from the bank.
Entertainment, Business and Religion
While former advisor Steve Salutric didn’t blow his ill-gotten gains on the life of luxury, that didn’t help the investment advisor escape jail time. The founder of Illinois-based Results One Financial is set to spend the next 8 years behind bars after a federal judge sentenced him last week for his Ponzi-like scam.
According to the SEC, Salutric swindled at least 17 of his clients—including a 96-year old nursing home resident suffering from dementia—out of $2 million collectively within a three-year span.
Salutric spent most of the stolen investor funds on paying off other clients, but he also used $1.2 million to fund local restaurants, a film distribution company and made substantial donations to his church. While God may forgive, the law doesn't forget.