The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed charges against two Maryland companies and their principals allegedly defrauding more than 1,000 investors in a $28 million Ponzi scheme.
The SEC first filed the complaint against 1st Million LLC and Smart Partners LLC, and their principals, Dennis Jali, John Frimpong, and Arley Johnson, in August, for defrauding 1,200 investors, many of which were “African immigrants.”
The complaint said the trio “exploited common ancestry and/or religious affiliations to earn investors’ trust. Many of the investors were health care workers and/or members of churches attended by Jali, Frimpong, and/or Johnson.”
1st Million LLC Seminar
Investors were promised by Jali, Frimpong, and Johnson that they were “skilled and licensed traders that would invest in foreign currency exchange and cryptocurrency, “and guaranteed substantial monthly or quarterly returns while simultaneously protecting their principal from market forces,” the complaint read.
As always, like in any other classic Ponzi scheme, the complaint read:
“Rather than invest money received from these targeted communities and others as promised, Defendants misappropriated investor funds for the personal use of Jali, Frimpong, and Johnson, and to temporarily keep the scheme afloat by making Ponzi payments to earlier investors.”
According to CBS Baltimore, officials from the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland are trying to identify victims who may have lost money.
CBS Baltimore added more color into the trio’s scheme, indicating they posed as “pastors and attended church events to get investments from churchgoers.”
Here’s one of the many seminars the fake pastors lured unsuspecting victims from various churches.
The scheme went on for nearly two years, from August 2017 to May 2019.
A couple of months ago, a Baltimore man was sentenced to 22-years in jail for the largest-ever Ponzi scheme in the state’s history.
Just imagine if these fools actually invested millions of dollars in Bitcoin back in 2017-19…