DALLAS (CN) – The SEC obtained an emergency order stopping an alleged Ponzi scam run by “a purported trader.” It claims 31-year-old Christopher Love Blackwell skimmed $3 million from suckers, but finally made a sales pitch to the wrong guy: an undercover officer.
The SEC sued Blackwell and his businesses, AV Bar Reg, and an Arizona LLC, Millers A Game. Blackwell’s last known address was at his father’s house in Roswell, N.M., the SEC says. He was “until recently, a resident of Euless, Texas,” according to the federal complaint.
Since 2007, he raised “more than $4 million from at least thirteen investors, including a former Dallas Cowboy, by offering and selling several fraudulent investments,” the complaint states. “These fraudulent investments include fixed income (or mid-term note) trading programs, hedge funds, movie distribution investment contracts, and related advisory services. The fixed income trading program was Blackwell’s most popular offering. It was also a fiction.”
The SEC says that “Blackwell did not purchase or trade any securities. Instead, he used investor money to pay more than $720,000 in personal and business expenses, including child support, travel, entertainment (including gentlemen’s clubs), utilities, food, office equipment and supplies, office rent, and purchases of Audi, Hummer and other vehicles. He also funneled more than $900,000 in cash directly to himself, his family members, friends and other associates. And he diverted investor funds to support his other questionable business activities, including roughly $249,000 purportedly used to fund a personal entertainment investment, and roughly $1.1 million to purchase interests in sham letters of credit. Finally, Blackwell used more than $500,000 to make Ponzi payments – i.e., he used new investors’ funds to pay old investors.” (Parentheses in complaint.)
Blackwell finally made a pitch to the wrong guy, according to the SEC complaint: “In a taped sales pitch to an undercover law enforcement agent, Blackwell even promised risk-free returns of ’25 to 30 percent per month with regularity.’ And he falsely claimed that these profits were possible because of: his academic pedigree, including Master’s and Ph.D. degrees acquired at a prestigious university in Spain (Blackwell held no such degrees); his extensive experience as a trader (he had little, if any, such experience); and the know-how and connections he acquired while employed by Goldman Sachs and The Bank of Madrid (he never worked at either firm).” (Parentheses in complaint.)
The SEC seeks disgorgement, penalties and an injunction.