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Regulation and Compliance > Litigation

SEC Gets 9 Final Judgments in Scheme Bilking Pro Athletes, Advisors

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What You Need to Know

  • Three defendants have been sentenced to prison.

The Securities and Exchange Commission obtained final judgments against eight defendants and one relief defendant in its case against them for their roles in a $345 million Ponzi-like scheme whose victims had included pro athletes, retirees and financial advisors, the SEC said Tuesday.

The final judgments stated that Jay Ledford, Global Credit Recovery, Delmarva Capital, Rhino Capital Holdings, Rhino Capital Group, DeVille Asset Management and Riverwalk Financial Corp. are liable, on a joint-and-several basis, for $183.97 million in disgorgement, plus $5.67 million in prejudgment interest.

The final judgment against Cameron Jezierski, meanwhile, ordered him to pay $105,000 in disgorgement and $2,913 in prejudgment interest.

Those judgments were “deemed satisfied in light of the recoveries made” by a court-appointed receiver and the restitution ordered against Ledford, Jezierski and Kevin Merrill in a parallel criminal case against the defendants that was brought by the Justice Department, the SEC said Tuesday.

Merrill is from Towson, Maryland, while Ledford, is from Westlake, Texas and Las Vegas; and Jezierski is from Fort Worth, Texas.

The judgment against relief defendant Lalaine Ledford, Jay Ledford’s wife, provided for the equitable disgorgement of certain vehicles and luxury items that the SEC alleged were obtained with the proceeds from Ledford’s fraud.

On Sept. 13, 2018, the SEC filed an emergency civil injunctive action in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland against Merrill, Ledford and business entities controlled by them, charging them with operating a Ponzi-like scheme that raised more than $345 million from over 230 investors across the U.S.

The SEC alleged that Merrill and Ledford stole at least $85 million of the investor funds to maintain lavish lifestyles, spending millions of dollars on luxury items, including $10.2 million on at least 25 high-end cars, $330,000 for a 7-carat diamond ring, $168,000 for a 23-carat diamond bracelet, millions of dollars on luxury homes, and $100,000 on a private fitness club.

The SEC later amended its complaint to add Merrill’s wife, Amanda Merrill, and Ledford’s wife, Lalaine Ledford, as relief defendants.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland brought a parallel criminal action against Merrill, Ledford, and Cameron Jezierski in 2018 for their roles in the scheme. All three pleaded guilty.

Merrill was sentenced earlier this year to 264 months in prison, while Ledford received 168 months in prison and both were ordered to pay $189.17 million in restitution. The court sentenced Jezierski to 24 months in prison and ordered him to pay $45.09 million in restitution, according to court documents.

(Image: Shutterstock) 


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