Alleged fraudster targets the deaf
There seems no end to the number of Ponzi schemes being uncovered. The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission announced yesterday that it had charged Honolulu-based Marvin Cooper and his company Billion Coupons (BCI), with operating a fraud that involved more than 125 customers – all of whom are deaf.
The CFTC alleges that since at least September 2007, Cooper and BCI solicited approximately $4.4 million from more than 125 deaf American and Japanese individuals supposedly to trade FX. According to the complaint, while Cooper and BCI opened accounts with approximately $1.7 million of customer money, Cooper misappropriated more than $1.4 million for personal use.
“This case is a clear example of affinity fraud: Cooper preyed upon the deaf community to leverage and exploit the inherent trust within so that his scheme would prosper. The CFTC urges the public to be cautious with their investments even when opportunities are presented by those with whom they have an association,” says CFTC acting director of enforcement Stephen Obie.
CFTC alleges that customers were hooked with promises of 15% to 25% monthly returns. However, the so-called profits returned came from existing customers’ original principal and/or from money invested by subsequent clients.