The Securities and Exchange Commission won a federal court order in Atlanta to freeze assets in an alleged investment scam involving a Utah man that raised $30 million in the United States and Canada by touting risk-free profits.
Judge Orinda Evans issued the order after the SEC accused James Jeffery, of Belleville, Ontario, and Thomas Repke, of Holladay, of fraudulently luring more than 150 investors since 2006 by promising monthly returns of as much as 8 percent on money placed in an escrow account, the SEC said in a statement Friday.
The men loaned $3.4 million to an entity they controlled and moved other funds offshore, possibly placing some in a Bermuda hedge fund that isn't yet operating, the agency said in its civil lawsuit filed Thursday. The men issued statements to clients showing the money was earning about 4 percent a month, according to the regulator.
"The defendants have misrepresented to investors that their principal is protected and never leaves the escrow account, or is secured by collateral," the SEC said in its suit. "In fact, no such risk-free investment exists."
Evans temporarily froze assets controlled by the defendants and entities they used. A hearing is set for Jan. 17.
Jerry Gruenbaum, an attorney representing the defendants, didn't return a phone call and e-mail seeking comment.