Securities Law Prof Blog

Editor: Eric C. Chaffee
Univ. of Toledo College of Law

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

SEC Obtains Freeze Order Against Foreign Exchange Trading Scheme

The SEC obtained a court order to stop a $27 million Ponzi scheme involving investors in the United States, Canada, and other countries.  The agency charged Gold-Quest International and its three principals for the alleged misuse of investor funds in a scheme that promised incentives to investors who recruited "friends and family" into the system. The SEC alleged that Gold-Quest and its owners misrepresented that investor funds would be pooled and invested in foreign currency exchange trading and would generate annual profits of 87.5 percent. No investor money was actually invested in foreign currency exchange trading.

According to the SEC's complaint, Gold-Quest's owners David M. Greene (who refers to himself as Lord David Greene), John Jenkins, and Michael McGee instead used investor funds to compensate investors who brought in new investors. Up to 88 percent of each investor's principal was paid to the chain of promoters responsible for bringing the investor into the Gold-Quest program. Most of the remaining funds were used by Greene, Jenkins, and McGee for personal expenses.

The Federal District Court for the District of Nevada issued an order freezing assets and appointing a temporary receiver over Gold-Quest and its affiliates. According to the SEC's complaint, Gold-Quest and its owners claim they are not subject to the jurisdiction of the United States or Canada because they are members of the Little Shell Nation Indian tribe, purportedly headquartered in North Dakota. However, the Little Shell Nation is not in fact recognized as a sovereign tribe or nation.

In its lawsuit, the SEC obtained an order (1) freezing the assets of Greene, Jenkins, and McGee; (2) freezing and repatriating the assets of, and appointing a temporary receiver over, Gold-Quest and its affiliates; (3) preventing the destruction of documents; and (4) temporarily enjoining Gold-Quest, Greene, Jenkins, and McGee from future violations of the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws.

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