$800 Million Scheme Ends, as Ponzis Do | Courthouse News Service
Tuesday, November 28, 2023
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Tuesday, November 28, 2023 | Back issues
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$800 Million Scheme Ends, as Ponzis Do

LAS VEGAS (CN) - A receiver will take over six medical properties whose owners were fined $604 million for running an $800 million Ponzi scam.

The SEC sued MRI International et al. in 2013, claiming they collected "hundreds of millions of dollars for purported investments in medical accounts receivable." But they used the money to make Ponzi payments to early investors, and for themselves. The money was gone by May 2013.

In January, U.S District Judge James Mahan granted summary judgment and ordered MRI, LVT, Edwin Fujinaga, Junzo Suzuki and Paul Musashi Suzuki to pay $442,229,611.70 in disgorgement, $102,129,752.28 in interest and $20 million each in civil penalties .

On Monday, Mahan ordered their six commercial properties to be placed in receivership to preserve them against foreclosure and loss.

The properties include the Harmon Medical Center, a claims servicing center and an MRI office. A medical supplies property and two pharmaceuticals properties also are to be placed in receivership.

Mahan ordered MRI to turn over the properties to receiver Robb Evans & Associates by March 2 . The receiver will control the properties as well as any safes, computer and information systems, and locked cabinets.

Fujinaga and MRI were found guilty of running an $800 million Ponzi scheme , in which they sold unregistered shares to investors in Japan.

Lead defendant MRI International is a Nevada corporation owned and operated by Las Vegas resident Fujinaga.

MRI's Tokyo operations were run by Junzo Suzuki, who controlled MRI's marketing and investment solicitations in Japan.

Defendant LVT is a Nevada escrow company, also known as Sterling Escrow, which handled MRI's bookkeeping.

The SEC in September 2013 froze MRI's assets and in a separate federal lawsuit and accused Fujinaga of running "an extensive and egregious Ponzi scheme that victimized thousands of investors, depriving many of their entire life savings. From October 1998 through May 2013, MRI received over $800 million from investors."

Fujinaga told investors he could buy medical accounts receivable at a discount from medical providers and recover the full amounts from insurers.

Rather than buying discounted medical accounts receivable, the SEC said, Fujinaga used a second company he owns, CSA Service Center, to buy himself houses in Beverly Hills, Hawaii and Las Vegas, and to pay his alimony, child support, credit card bills and buy "luxury cars."

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