Florida Resident Accused of Recruiting Ponzi Scheme Victims
A 69 year old Florida man, James F. Ellis of Wilton Manors, has been charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) with securities fraud for making fraudulent statements to investors to induce them to invest with alleged Ponzi schemer George Elia.
According to the SEC’s Complaint, Ellis made knowingly false statements to at least 14 investors, many of whom are members of the gay community in Wilton Manors, Florida, to solicit them to invest with alleged fraudster Elia. The SEC charges that from 2004 to 2011, Ellis solicited victims for George Elia’s alleged Ponzi scheme by telling them that he had personally invested $5 million with Elia and was earning returns of 20,000 to $24,000 per month.
The SEC claims that Ellis never made a $5 million investment with Elia but did receive payments totaling approximately $2.1 million during the 7 year period, in return for fraudulently recommending Elia’s purported investments. In addition, the SEC asserts that Ellis reassured investors that their investments were safe when he knew that was false.
The SEC’s Complaint against Ellis asserts civil claims for violations of the Securities Act of 1933 and Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and seeks the return of ill-gotten gains. In addition, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida has filed criminal charges against Ellis arising from the same conduct.