Ponzi Scheme

Ponzi scheme targeting elderly: The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has made a significant move in its ongoing battle against financial fraud, charging Brent Seaman of Naples, Florida, and several entities under his management for orchestrating a fraudulent scheme that unlawfully raised around $35 million from approximately 60 investors. The victims of this alleged scam included a number of elderly and retired individuals, many of whom were members of a local Naples church where Seaman was an active participant.

A Web of Deceit: Unmasking the Ponzi Scheme

According to the SEC’s complaint, which was lodged in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, the alleged fraudulent activities unfolded over a period spanning from June 2019 to September 2022. During this time, Brent Seaman purportedly convinced investors that their funds would be allocated towards investments in technology firms as well as trading in currencies and commodities. These investments were described by Seaman as “secure,” with promised returns ranging from 18 to 48 percent, which he allegedly guaranteed. However, the SEC’s complaint argues that these representations were far from reality.

The complaint alleges that Seaman, in a bid to solicit investments, portrayed himself as a successful currency trader, exploiting the trust he gained as an active church member. In truth, it is alleged that Seaman was incurring significant losses in currency trading, resulting in the squandering of investors’ capital. Furthermore, Seaman is accused of diverting millions of dollars for his personal use, including acquiring luxury vehicles and indulging in private plane trips. Additionally, the SEC claims that Seaman resorted to making Ponzi-like payments to investors, using funds from new investors to meet the required monthly distributions to existing ones.

A Commitment to Justice: Safeguarding Vulnerable Investors

The SEC’s legal action against Brent Seaman reflects its unwavering commitment to safeguarding vulnerable investors and upholding the integrity of the securities market. By targeting church members and exploiting their trust, Seaman is alleged to have violated both securities registration requirements and antifraud provisions.

“Seaman targeted church members with false claims of success,” noted Eric I. Bustillo, Director of the SEC’s Miami Regional Office. “This action reflects a deep commitment to pursue those who prey on vulnerable investors.”

All defendants involved in the alleged scheme have consented to a bifurcated settlement, which includes an injunction barring them from violating the relevant provisions of federal securities laws. Brent Seaman, in particular, has agreed to settle follow-on administrative proceedings in anticipation of a permanent injunction. The defendants have also agreed to potential orders for disgorgement with prejudgment interest and civil penalties, subject to court determination.

Empowering Investors: The Role of SEC’s Investigative Efforts

The SEC’s investigation into this alleged Ponzi scheme was part of its broader initiative, known as the Fraud Against Minority Groups Initiative, which seeks to address fraudulent activities disproportionately affecting minority communities. The investigation was led by professionals within the Miami Regional Office and underscores the SEC’s commitment to uncovering and prosecuting financial fraud.

As part of its ongoing efforts to protect investors, the SEC encourages individuals to use resources such as Investor.gov to verify the credentials of individuals offering investment opportunities and to stay informed about potential fraudulent schemes. Additional insights into the dangers of affinity frauds.

Through this legal action against Brent Seaman and the entities involved, the SEC reinforces its role as a vigilant guardian of the financial well-being of investors, working tirelessly to expose and eliminate fraudulent practices in the securities market.

Ponzi Scheme