CHARLOTTE, N.C. (CN) – A North Carolina couple targeted old people in a $22.5 million Ponzi scam disguised as “off-exchange” foreign currency trades, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission says. The CFTC claims Sidney and Charlotte Hanson ran the scam through their fraudulent funds, Queen Shoals, Queen Shoals II, and Select Fund LLC.
Most of the victims were retirees or people nearing retirement; the Hansons promised them returns of 8 percent to 24 percent, the CFTC says. Victims who agreed to roll their IRAs into one of the funds were promised an additional 1 percent, according to the federal complaint.
The Hansons swiped customers’ money bought an 88-acre farm with it, paid other money as undisclosed commissions to agents who brought in new victims, lost millions of dollars they never disclosed to investors and covered it up with false account statements, according to the CFTC.
The CFTC seeks restitution and an injunction.