The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that it filed an emergency action and obtained a temporary restraining order and an asset freeze to stop an alleged Ponzi scheme and misappropriation of investor proceeds perpetrated by Melbourne, Florida resident Jonathan P. Maroney through several entities he controls.
According to the SEC’s complaint, Maroney and his companies raised at least $17.1 million from more than 100 investors in a series of fraudulent securities offerings. The complaint alleges that Maroney, his company Harbor City Capital Corp., and his various other entities told investors that offering proceeds would be used to finance the defendants’ online “customer lead generation campaigns,” and promised investors annual returns ranging from 10% to 60% from the resale of those leads to other businesses. In fact, according to the complaint, little if any investor funds actually went to the lead generation business. Instead, the complaint alleges, Maroney misappropriated at least $4.48 million in investor funds to enrich himself and his family, including the purchase and maintenance of his waterfront home and a Mercedes Benz, and to pay for his extensive credit card bills and renovation-related expenses on the house. The complaint further alleges that Maroney misused investor money by making payments to other entities unrelated to the supposed purpose of the offerings and that he fraudulently used investor funds to make monthly interest payments and other payouts to investors in a classic Ponzi scheme fashion.
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