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News: Ponzi Scheme Scammers Penalized for Additional $76 Million

Keith F. Simmons and Deanna Salazar have been charged with an additional $76 million dollars in civil monetary penalties for their engagement in defrauding investors in a foreign exchange market Ponzi scheme. The two defrauders are currently serving their prison sentence.

As Meyer Wilson reported in 2011, The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) brought charges of securities fraud, wired fraud, and money laundering against Mr. Simmons and Ms. Salazar. Mr. Salazar’s company Black Diamond Capital Solutions, LLC and Ms. Salazar’s companies Life Plus Group, LLC and Black Diamond Holdings, LLC. were also implicated as a vessel for the scheme.

Along with Mr. Simmons and Ms. Salazar, Brian Coats from Genesis Wealth Management, LLC and Jonathon Davey from Divine Circulation Services, LLC, Divine Stewardship, LLC, Safe Harbor Ventures, Inc., Safe Harbor Wealth Investments, Inc., and Safe Harbor Wealth, Inc., were also convicted in aiding with the Ponzi scheme. While Mr. Simmons and Ms. Salazar were charged with a prison sentence and monetary penalties in 2012, the litigation over Mr. Coats and Mr. Davey is still going on.

According to the Order, Mr. Simmons and Ms. Salazar, with the help of Mr. Coats and Mr. Davey, defrauded at least 240 investors for $35 million dollars. Clients believed their money was being invested in the foreign currency market, however, that allegedly was not the case. According to the CFTC, Mr. Simmons and Ms. Salazar used the money to pay previous customers and fund their own extravagant lifestyle.

U.S. District Judge Robert J. Conrad, along with fining Mr. Simmons and Ms. Salazar the monetary penalties, has also implemented a permanent ban to keep the two individuals from participating in trading and registration and to keep them from further violating anti-fraud laws.

The information contained in The Firm’s posts on its blog, fraud alerts, investigations or elsewhere on the site is based upon information obtained from other sources including, but not limited to, news outlets and federal, state, and regulatory agency filings. All suspects and subjects of postings herein are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law or administrative action and any and all crimes are alleged until a court or regulatory agency finds otherwise .

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