Alleged Ponzi schemer said to have targeted deaf evangelicals

CFTC.jpgNow there's a headline you don't see too often. A Rancho Cucamonga man named Marc Perlman is being charged by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission with fraudulently soliciting and accepting at least $670,000 from at least 17 people. Operating through his firm, iGlobal Strategic Management, Perlman, who is deaf, is alleged to have conned investors through off-exchange foreign currency contracts. Civil complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Less than half of the funds invested were used to trade forex, according to the complaint, while the rest were used for other stuff, such as charges at department stores, electronic stores, grocery stores and restaurants; and payment of rent for Perlman's personal residence. iGlobal investors were in California and eight other states. From the complaint:

Perlman is deaf and used his social connections within the deaf community to identify and contact cetiain potential iGlobal Investors. In order to develop trust with certain potential iGlobal Investors, Perlman referred to his Christian faith and, at times, quoted scripture in discussing iGlobal. Perlman offered to have calls with cetiain potential iGlobal Investors through a video phone system that enables communication through sign language. During these calls, Perlman told certain potential iGlobal Investors that he was offering them the opportunity to invest in a forex investment system that would yield profits of 10 percent each month. He later revised this projected number to 5 percent after certain iGlobal Investors invested funds. Perlman also sent e-mails to cetiain potential iGlobal Investors, in further attempts to solicit their investment of funds.

Perlman, says the complaint, "encouraged one iGlobal Investor to sell a house at a price that would result in a quick sale, stating that the profits that the iGlobal Investor would earn with iGlobal would make up for the lost equity." Actually, going after a particular group is a common MO in the world of Ponzi schemers. If a member of a church or golf club talks up some too-good-to-be-true investment to his buddies, it provides instant credibility. The CFTC is seeking restitution to the defrauded investors, civil monetary penalties, and permanent injunctions against further violations of federal commodities laws.

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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
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