|By Grand Haven Tribune, Mich.|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
Doctor and Kacos are scheduled for sentencing on
The pleas follow a joint investigation by the state's
In March, Attorney General
Ripley and VanLiere were both sentenced
Despite knowledge that Ripley had been caught and punished for selling unregistered securities on two previous occasions, it is alleged that Doctor and Kacos allowed, aided and abetted Ripley in operating a third unregistered investment scheme by acting as a registered agent and account holder for API Worldwide. Doctor and Kacos also allegedly opened financial accounts used to receive or liquidate cash, and orchestrated and compensated third parties to wire investor funds to various foreign destinations, including
Both Kacos and Doctor invested money in API Worldwide.
Authorities say Ripley and VanLiere preyed on elderly victims by convincing them to cash in certificates of deposit and other legitimate investments in order to invest the proceeds in API Worldwide. Ripley and VanLiere tracked maturation dates of CDs for some victims to persuade the victims to transfer the funds to API Worldwide immediately after the CD matured.
The investigation revealed that although some investors did receive a return, those returns were derived from funds from other investors, which is the trademark of a Ponzi scheme, Schuette said. None of the victims received any returns on their "investments," and some even lost their life savings to the scam.
Schuette encourages senior citizens to exercise caution before investing their money with those who promise exorbitant returns. Key tips to avoid falling victim to a Ponzi scheme or investment fraud include:
— Check out your broker or adviser.
— Confirm that your broker and financial adviser is registered and in good standing.
— Contact the
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