“To cheat investors out of their savings and earnings is not a safe business plan anymore.”
These are the words of Attorney General Eric Holder after a federal crackdown on investment scams. Strong language, but needed to be said.
The US Justice Department claimed that action has been taken against 343 criminal defendants after a federal crackdown on investment scams. Some people in Colorado were even accused multimillion dollar swindles.
Nationwide these scams totaled an amount of $8.3 billion in losses and involved over 120 thousand victims!
In Colorado, Operation Broken Trust took action since August 16th. According to John F. Walsh, United States Attorney for Colorado, in four criminal cases, eleven defendants were prosecuted. In these cases, 882 Coloradoans were victimized and lost over $55 million.
Shawn Merriman was one of the defendants. The former Aurora stockbroker was sentenced to 12.5 years for running a Ponzi scheme of about $20 million, a May criminal mail conspiracy complaint against the operators of National Vending Systems Inc. and American Vending Systems and fraud indictments of the operators and owners of Valley Investments of December 2009.
Attorney General Holder said that the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force is sending a strong message with the operation to the public to be alert for these schemes and frauds, to take proper measures to protect oneself, and to report to the authorities when fraud occurs. A strong message was also sent to the offenders that it is no longer a safe business plan to cheat people out of their savings. The Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force will find them, stop them, and bring them to justice using every tool at its disposal!
Financial wrongdoing should be treated the same way as any other crime. The public expects the law enforcement authorities to pursue financial wrongdoers and this is a rightly expectation, according to Walsh.
President Barack Obama gave the order to create the inter agency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force in order to direct a coordinated, aggressive, and proactive effort to prosecute and investigate financial crimes. The Task Force’s Investigators are from a broad range of federal agencies, inspectors general, regulatory authorities and local and state law enforcement in order to fight those financial criminals. The case results show that the Department of Justice’s aggressive pursuit of financial criminals works. It’s really not that complicated: find them, stop them, and bring them to justice!