The Security and Exchange Commission charged a Puerto Rico resident and his company today who targeted evangelical Christians and factory workers in a $7 million Ponzi scheme.
Ricardo Bonilla Rojas and his firm Shadai Yire allegedly gathered funds from as many as 200 investors in Puerto Rico, Florida, New York and North Carolina, according to a statement from the SEC.
“Rojas targeted novice investors who were often evangelical Christians, and he touted a long history of successful trading in commodities,” said Eric I. Bustillo, director of the SEC’s Miami Regional Office, in the statement. “In reality, he was fleecing the flock.”
Rojas promised up to 50 percent in returns in presentations to evangelical Christians and factory workers.
Rather than investing the money as promised, Rojas used new funds to pay earlier investors and took $700,000 for himself.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office of the District of Puerto Rico today announced it would be pressing criminal charges against the alleged schemer.