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SEC Orders Investment Firm Owner to Pay $1.2M Over Ponzi Scheme

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What You Need to Know

  • Ann Vick fraudulently raised about $3.2 million from almost two dozen investors for a pooled investment fund, the SEC says.
  • She told them she was a successful options trader and promised huge returns, the SEC says.
  • She has agreed to pay disgorgement of $570,150, prejudgment interest of $27,929, and a civil penalty of $570,150.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has ordered an investment advisor to pay $1.2 million for fraudulently raising about $3.2 million from almost two dozen investors for a pooled investment fund of which she is the sole owner.

In a complaint filed Monday in U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado, the SEC alleged that from August 2018 through January 2021, Ann M. Vick, 59, of Mead, Colorado, represented herself to investors as a consistently successful options trader and promised them huge investment returns. In addition to serving as owner of AMV Investments, she owns a chain of restaurants in Colorado, according to the complaint.

Vick’s options trading, however, resulted in a volatile mix of gains and losses, and she never generated the consistent profits needed to pay investors the returns she promised them, the SEC alleged.

After suffering significant trading losses in early 2020, Vick started making “Ponzi-like” payments to investors and misappropriated about $570,150 of investor funds, the SEC alleged.

“Vick engaged in several fraudulent and deceptive acts that operated as a fraud and deceit on investors,” the complaint stated. “In addition to false and misleading representations,” she “acted knowingly or recklessly, and negligently, in engaging in the fraudulent and deceptive conduct,” the complaint alleged.

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The complaint charged Vick with violating the antifraud provisions of Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Sections 206(1), 206(2), and 206(4) of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940.

Without admitting or denying the allegations in the SEC’s complaint, Vick consented to the entry of a judgment that permanently enjoins her from future violations of the charged provisions and from participating in the offer or sale of any securities.

Vick also agreed to pay disgorgement of $570,150 and prejudgment interest of $27,929, and to pay a civil penalty of $570,150, according to the SEC. Vick also agreed to be prohibited from acting as an officer or director of any public company. The settlement was subject to court approval.

(Pictured: SEC headquarters in Washington; Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)