Most Recent
AdSurfDaily Agape agent American Integrity Aronson asset sales Attorney av bar reg baker bank bank of america Bankruptcy baumann bermudez black diamond blackwell bridge loan bull cattle CD celebrity cftc charity china China Voice church cityfund claims claims process clawback commission commodities commodity pool computer program congress Crown Forex currency death sentence denver diamond bar disgorgement Distribution Dodd-Frank donnan Dreier dunhill e-bullion elderly E-M Management SEC england Fairfield family FBI FDIC Fees female ponzi scheme financial advisor fine FINRA football forex fraud fufta fugitive Full Tilt gift card guilty plea GunnAllen hawaii Heckscher HSBC india invers forex janvey John Morgan JP Morgan kansas ken bell kenzie las vegas lawsuit lawyer libya Lifland machado Madoff Marian Morgan metro dream homes mets milberg millers a game Morgan European Holdings mortgage multiple schemes NCAA Net Winner new jersey notes objection Oxford Patrick Kiley paul burks PermaPave Pettengill Petters Picard poker Ponzi ponzi scheme ponzi scheme database ponzi scheme list Prime Rate profitable sunrise prosun pta puerto rico Rakoff real estate receiver receivership regulation relief defendants religion remission repeat offender restitution Rothstein RRA sec sentencing simmons sipa sipc snelling standing stanford stettin subpoena td bank telexfree treasury bonds treasury strip Tremont Trevor Cook UBS UFTA uga utah venture advisors Wachovia wilpon wire fraud woman zeek zeek rewards zeekler zeekrewards
Recent SEC Releases
« Former Candidate for Tennessee Congress Sentenced to Four Years for Running Ponzi Scheme | Main | Stanford Investors Must Wait Until September for SIPC's Decision »

Elementary School PTA Moms Accused of $3M Ponzi Scheme

Three members of the Parent Teacher Association at Armstrong Elementary School in central California are in custody after they were arrested for allegedly operating an elaborate Ponzi scheme in which victims are suspected of losing nearly $3 million.  The three women - Marciela Barajas (aka Marciela Torres), 41, Juliana Menefee, 50, and Eva Perez, 51 - were arrested on multiple state felony charges, including seven counts of grand theft and fifteen counts of securities fraud.

According to police, investors were approached at social functions and school events under the ruse that the three women had the exclusive rights to sell AltaDena dairy products at small retailers and Disneyland.  Promising annual returns exceeding 100%, unwitting investors were convinced to fund their investments with second mortgages on their homes and maxing out credit cards.  In total, police say the three women raised over $14 million in the scheme.  Of the $14 million, $10 million was returned as payments to investors, while $1.5 million has been confirmed as losses.  Approximately $2.5 million remains unaccounted for, with police speculating that the three women used the amount for luxury items and travel.  According to a local news site, nearly 40 victims invested amounts ranging from $5,000 to $208,000.

Two of the women, Barajas and Menefee, are scheduled to be arraigned Thursday, July 7.  The remaining woman, Perez, incidentally, is already in jail after after pleading guilty in 2010 to a similar scheme.  In addition to serving her current 11-year sentence, Perez is expected to face new charges for her role in this scheme.  The arrests came with the culmination of a six-month fraud investigation conducted by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Commercial Crime Bureau.  It is unknown whether the women will face federal charges as well.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>