Swindle Alleged in Rural Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS (CN) – Two Minnesota men took the life savings from nine people in two families – including a retiree with metastatic prostate cancer and his pastor – by misrepresenting investments in currency trading and walking away with $5 million, according to a federal complaint.

     Plaintiff Kenneth Hale says he heard defendant Gerald Durand speaking about investment opportunities on a radio show in early 2006. Hale says Durand invited him and a friend to discuss investments with him and others in his rural community in Northwestern Ohio.
     Hale says Durand and defendant Trevor Cook persuaded the plaintiffs to invest in currency arbitrage, seeking profits from exchange rates.
     Durand and Cook allegedly promised 12 percent returns in a year, “with the principal protected,” and said investors could make redemptions “instantly” at any time. The nine plaintiffs say they handed over nearly $5 million.
     In the spring of 2008 Durand and Cook became difficult to reach, the plaintiffs say. Eventually, they learned that Durand and Cook had parted ways. Durand claimed that Cook was solely responsible for the investments, and Cook dragged his feet and eventually became “unreachable,” according to the complaint.
     Durand continues to appear as a guest investment adviser on the David Strom Show on AM radio, appearing on air as recently as July 3, according to local media reports.
     The plaintiffs seek damages for fraud, deceptive trade practices and contract violations. They are represented by John Harper III with Krass Monroe.
     Cook lives in Burnsville, Minn., Durand in Lakeville. Here are the other defendants: Oxford Global Partners, Oxford Global Advisors, Oxford Private Client Group, UBFX Diversified, UBS Diversified, Universal Brokerage FX, UBS Diversified FX Advisors LLC, UBS Diversified FX Growth LP, UBS Diversified FX Management LLC, UBS Diversified Growth LLC, Universal Brokerage Services LLC, UBS REFCO IFX Millennium RJO PRG.

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