Ponzi Man’s Wife Has to Give It Up

     LAS VEGAS (CN) – The wife of a man accused of running a $1.5 billion Ponzi scam must give up $2.4 million in ill-gotten gains, a federal judge ruled.
     The SEC on Wednesday was granted summary judgment and disgorgement against June Fujinaga and the Yunjo Trust, relief defendants in its case against Edwin Fujinaga and MRI International, a purported medical accounts receivable firm.
     U.S. District Judge James Mahan agreed with the SEC’s claim that “there is no dispute” that June Fujinaga and the Yunjo Trust received $2,383,382.18 from Edwin Fujinaga and did not have a “legitimate claim” to the money.
     “Regardless of whether or not they participated in the fraud – wittingly or unwittingly – the relief defendants should not profit from the scheme,” the SEC said in its May 1 motion for summary judgment . The SEC added: “To the maximum extent possible, these ill-gotten gains should be returned to the defendants’ victims.”
     The SEC provided checks from Edwin Fujinaga and companies he owned or controlled payable to June, plus corporate financial records and bank deposits.
     It showed that June bought two condominiums at the MGM Grand Towers in Las Vegas and transferred them to the Yunjo Trust on Sept. 27, 2013 – less than three weeks after the SEC sued her husband.
     June Fujinaga produced W-2 forms to show that she had earned the money, but Mahan said she did not affix them to a motion challenging the SEC’s motion for summary judgment or provide proof that she has a right to the money.
     Federal prosecutors on July 8 charged Edwin Fujinaga and two Japanese citizens with running a $1.5 billion Ponzi scheme on thousands of Japanese citizens.
     Charged with eight counts of mail fraud and nine counts of wire fraud were Edwin Fujinaga, 68, of Las Vegas; Junzo Suzuki, 66; and Paul Suzuki, 36, both of Tokyo. Fujinaga also is charged with three counts of money laundering.
     Fujinaga and the Suzukis owe thousands of investors more than $1.5 billion for money they fraudulently solicited from 2009 to 2013, U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden said in a statement.
     Edwin Fujinaga was president and CEO of Las Vegas-based MRI International. Junzo Suzuki was MRI’s executive vice president for the Asia Pacific region, and Paul Suzuki was the general manager of its Japanese operations.
     MRI claimed it bought accounts receivable at a discount from medical providers and recovered more than the discounted amount from debtors.
     They skimmed money to pay themselves commissions, subsidize their gambling, take trips and so on, prosecutors say.
     The SEC sued MRI, Fujinaga and the Suzukis in 2013 and in February this year won a $604 million judgment for what then was described as an $800 million Ponzi scheme.
     That judgment included $442,229,611.70 in disgorgement from MRI, Edwin Fujinaga and the Suzukis, plus $102,129,752.28 in interest and $20 million each in civil penalties.

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