The SEC has obtained final judgments against the orchestrator and four promoters of a pyramid and Ponzi scheme involving two purported gold mining companies.
In June 2015, the SEC charged Daniel Fernandes Rojo Filho, Heriberto Perez Valdes, Eduardo Da Silva and Jeffrey Feldman of Florida, Romildo Da Cunha of Brazil, Wanderley Dalman and Gaspar Jesus of Massachusetts, Massachusetts-based DFRF Enterprises LLC, and Florida-based DFRF Enterprises LLC for their roles in a pyramid and Ponzi scheme that targeted investors in Spanish and Portuguese-speaking communities.
The SEC alleged that investors were falsely told that the DFRF entities were purported gold mining companies and owned more than 50 gold mines in Africa and Brazil, and that an investment in these companies would be fully insured and guaranteed.
The defendants allegedly raised more than $15 million from at least 1,400 investors between 2014 and 2015 by recruiting new members in pyramid scheme fashion to keep the fraud afloat. Commissions were allegedly paid to earlier investors in a Ponzi-like fashion to encourage their recruitment efforts.
On October 22, 2019, the U.S. District Court for the District Court of Massachusetts entered final judgments by default against Filho, Da Cunha, Dalman, Jesus, and Da Silva, enjoining them from violating the registration and antifraud provisions of various securities laws.
The final judgments further ordered them each to pay disgorgement and prejudgment interest ranging from $98,000 to $266,006, while Filho is on the hook for $10.3 million.
Filho was also ordered to pay a $1 million civil penalty, and the others were each ordered to pay civil penalties of $160,000.
The SEC previously obtained final judgments against the DFRF entities and Valdez, and its litigation in this matter continues against alleged promoter Feldman.