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SEC Busts Alleged Ponzi Scheme in Texas

(CN) - A Texas financial consultant bilked 30 investors of $3.1 million, the SEC claims in Dallas Federal Court. Thomas Irby II, principal of Titan Wealth Management, based his scheme on purported investments in short-term notes issued by European banks, the SEC says.

Irby and his co-defendants, including five people, an LLC and a corporation, promised investors they pool their money to buy mid-term notes or an interest in the notes. Irby promised to pay returns ranging from 10 percent to 50 percent, with a 5 percent monthly default penalty if he was unable to sell the notes by specified dates, the complaint states.

Irby, 38, of Farmers Branch, Texas, claimed that Titan would not receive any fees or compensation from the purchase or sale of the notes, and that the investors were protected because he himself owned a $10 million in notes that could be liquidated to pay back their investments, according to the SEC.

Actually, the SEC says, Irby misappropriated millions of dollars, directed at least $974,747 to Titan or into his own bank accounts, transferred at least $1.7 million to the relief defendants for no apparent consideration, and used at least $859,000 to make Ponzi payments.

Also named as defendants are Point West Partners LLC, a fund owned by Irby; and Joseph Romanow, David Romanow, Karen Bowie, France Michaud, John Kim, Pegasus Holdings Group, all identified as relief defendants.

The USEC seeks an injunction and disgorgement.

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