The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has charged four people in connection with an alleged $30 million Ponzi scheme that targeted more than 300 elderly and near retirement age investors who were seeking environmentally-friendly investments, reports the Philadelphia Business Journal.
The SEC has accused Mantria Corp. and its principals Troy Wragg and Amanda Knorr of raising $122 million in a dozen fraudulent securities offerings, reports the newspaper.
The SEC said Mantria used Speed of Wealth LLC, run by Wayde and Donna McKelvy, who are also charged with fraud, to encourage investors to liquidate retirement plans and home equity in order to buy securities offering with returns of 17 percent to more than 100 percent annually, according to newspaper.
The SEC alleges that the McKelvy’s, Wragg and Knorr raised funds for several Mantria “green” initiatives such as a supposed “carbon negative” housing community in rural Tennessee and a “biochar” charcoal substitute made from organic waste.
The SEC said Mantria’s environmental initiatives have not generated any significant cash, and any returns paid to investors have been funded from other investors’ contributions, according to the article.
A Court Order has frozen the assets of Mantria, Wragg, Knorr, Speed of Wealth, Wayde McKelvy, and Donna McKelvy, which are derived from any investor funds obtained by the defendants in connection with the alleged scheme, according to the SEC.