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Another Ponzi scheme in Palm Beach County

By Dian Vujovich

Sometimes ya gotta wonder what in the world goes on in people’s minds when it comes to money. Today, June 22, 2010, the SEC issued a press release announcing that they were charging a Palm Beach Gardens investment adviser and two of its managing members of fraud and running a Ponzi scheme.

Don’t investors ever learn that when something sounds too good to be true it is?

The company, Trade-LLC and its managing members Philip W. Milton and William Center, got something like 800 investment club members from across America to hand over their money so that they could invest it using a “proprietary software trading program.”

Well, the only ones making money in this deal were—you guessed it — Milton and Center. They used monies from the $28 million collected from members between 2007-2009 to pay themselves over $2 million and $1 million respectively. Plus, transferred more than $4.8 million into three Florida companies they controlled.

All the while they promised club members a return of roughly 8 percent a month translating into one of about 100 percent a year. Right. People, the odds of that really happening aren’t good. Trust me on this one!

According to the SEC press release: “With claims of a sophisticated trading program and extraordinary returns, Milton and Center persuaded the clubs and their members to increasing invest millions with Trade-LLC “said Eric I. Bustiallo, director of the SEC”s Miami Regional Office “They then blatantly lied to the clubs about the returns that were being achieved and hid the clubs’ losses by running a Ponzi scheme.”

The two have agreed to settle the charges and pay civil money penalties.

Read the full press release at: http://www.sec.gov/news/press/2010/2010-107.htm.

And while you’re there, bookmark the page, visit it often and then snoop around and read all the other great investment education information available at this site. What you learn could save you, and your loved ones, a fortune. That’s a promise I can make and one that won’t cost you a penny.

To read more articles, please visit the column archive.

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