The U.S. Attorney General’s office in Minnesota has indicted three more individuals in connection with Trevor Cook’s multi-million dollar foreign exchange (“forex”) Ponzi scheme. Jason Bo-Allen Beckman, Gerald Joseph Durand, and Patrick Kiley have been charged with wire fraud, mail fraud, conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud, and money laundering. Cook himself was convicted of fraud and sent to prison last August.
According to the Department of Justice, between 2005 and 2009 the defendants helped Cook and another conspirator, Christopher Pettengill, fraudulently solicit participants for a forex trading scheme for Universal Brokerage Services (UBS) and later for Universal Brokerage FX. They wooed potential forex investors by promising 10.5-12% return on investment with little or no risk to their money. The defendants also promised that investor assets would be held in a separate account and could be withdrawn at any time. All these claims were false.
The indictment states that overall, Cook and the others received $194 million from investors. $109 million was used for forex trading, but nearly all of it was lost. Those losses were concealed from investors. Participants would receive statements from various UBS entities, and some received checks, purportedly from their investment returns. The statements were allegedly created by Cook, Pettengill, and the defendants, and the checks were Ponzi payments made of other investor’s assets. $52 million was spent on those payments, another $68 million was lost in high-risk non-forex trading, and $30 million was used for personal expenses and salaries for Cook, Pettengill, and the defendants.
If convicted, the defendants face a maximum of 20 years for each fraud count, 10 for each money laundering count, and five for each conspiracy count.
Pettengill plead guilty to the forex fraud last month and is awaiting sentencing, as is Jon Jason Greco, another conspirator.
Read more about this Department of Justice forex scam enforcement action.
Read previous coverage of the Cook forex scam.
photo credit: krystian_o