Last week, we alerted our readers to a securities fraud perpetrated by a company called Imperia Invest IBC that targeted deaf investors. There has now been an arrest in connection with that scheme, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The SEC alleges that, over a three-year period, Jody Dunn, who is deaf, solicited investments from others in the deaf community for Imperia Invest IBC (Imperia). As we noted last week, the SEC previously charged Imperia with securities fraud and obtained an emergency court order to freeze its assets.
According to the complaint, Dunn solicited more than $3.45 million as part of Imperia’s investment scheme from several thousand deaf investors. Dunn failed to tell investors that he was using a portion of their funds to pay his mortgage, car loans, car insurance, and a variety of other personal expenses. Dunn sent the remaining amounts to Imperia’s offshore bank accounts in Costa Rica, Panama, the British Virgin Islands, Cyprus and New Zealand. Investors have never been paid any interest after giving their money to Dunn to invest, nor were their funds ever invested.
Astonishingly, even after the SEC charged Imperia and issued an investor alertabout the scheme, Dunn continued to reassure investors that Imperia was legitimate and they would be paid.
In addition, the SEC alleges that Dunn did not attempt to verify whether Imperia was actually investing the money as promised. He also failed to verify whether Imperia was licensed to sell securities in any state, whether any registration statements relating to the offers or sales of Imperia securities were filed with the Commission, or whether Imperia was registered with the Commission in any capacity.