Denver man accused in $12.5 million Ponzi scheme

AP News
Posted: Nov 11, 2009 10:56 AM

A Denver man allegedly defrauded people in a national Ponzi scheme involving more than $12 million that was supposed to go real estate investments, the Colorado securities commissioner said.

Investigators contend Jerrald Green, 48, used investors' money to buy condos for himself in downtown Denver and to open two brokerage accounts, which incurred substantial losses.

Commissioner Fred J. Joseph said Tuesday in a complaint filed in Denver District Court that Green received $12.5 million from investors, but only about $4.9 million of those funds were ever invested. None of the investments have yielded a substantial return, and Green used money from new investors to pay old investors, Joseph said.

A Denver judge on Tuesday granted the commissioner's request to freeze Green's assets. Green denied the allegations and said it's all a misunderstanding.

"I'm not a flight risk. There's no reason for why this should've have happened," he said, referring to his assets being frozen.

"We have a good legal counsel, and I'm sure once the facts are understood, it will all be sorted out and we will be back to business," he said. No charges have been filed against Green.

"Right now, this is just a civil case, but our investigation is ongoing," said Gerald Rome, Colorado deputy securities commissioner. Rome said the Securities Division can refer evidence to prosecutors, who can decide whether to file charges.

Joseph said Green claimed that his company, Wealth Systems International Ltd., managed a network of international investments even though he doesn't have a securities license. Investigators said Green marketed the millions of dollars of securities he sold as real estate investments.

Green is accused of hiring people in Texas to sell the securities for a commission. Also named in the complaint are Carl Todd and Richard Riner, both of San Marcus, Texas, and Chris Antony Zaal of McKinney, Texas.

A message left for Zaal at his company, Southwest Financial Group, was not immediately returned. A number listed for the business address of Todd and Riner is an automated operator that refers callers to a national directory assistance service.