SEC Charges Ricardo Rojas in $7 Million Ponzi Scheme Targeting Evangelical Christians

SEC v. Ricardo Bonilla Rojas and Shadai Yire, Inc., Case No. 12-cv-1681 (D.P.R.).  On August 21, the SEC announced fraud charges against Ricardo Rojas and his firm Shadai Yire.  Rojas and his sales agents solicited investors claiming the investments were a risk-free way to earn high returns in a short period of time.  Rojas paid the sales agents commissions based on their sales.  Rojas raised around $7 million by promising investors 50 percent returns on investments he claimed were “100% guaranteed.”  He primarily targeted Christian groups and factory workers.  Rojas created phony account statements to hide his misuse of investor funds and trick investors into believing their investments were growing.

Rojas and his firm are charged with violating Sections 5(a), 5(c) and 17(a) of the Securities Act, and Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act and Rule 10b-5 thereunder.  Rojas is also charged with violating Section 15(a) of the Exchange Act.  The SEC seeks disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, civil monetary penalties, and injunctive relief.  In a parallel action, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico announced criminal charges against Rojas.

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