An Illinois man who promised returns of up to 200% was charged with operating a Ponzi scheme that bilked investors out of more than $4 million. James Pantazelos, 61, of Rockford, Illinois, was charged with six counts of mail fraud and four counts of wire fraud. Each count of mail fraud and wire fraud carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 maximum fine.
According to an indictment, Pantazelos was the owner and CEO of Destiny's Partners, Inc. ("Destiny's Partners"). From May 2007 to December 2010, Pantazelos hosted conferences throughout the United States pitching investment opportunities in Destiny's Partners. Potential investors were told that Destiny's Partners invested in “Private Investment Trading Platforms” which traded bank notes in foreign markets, and that a substantial portion of profits generated would be donated to charitable and humanitarian causes. Pantazelos offered a variety of investment options, for terms ranging from 90 days to 365 days, and promised investors annual returns of up to 200%. Investors were assured that any investment would be kept in an escrow account and therefore safe. However, when the investment terms of various investors expired, investors were not provided with their original principal investment. As alleged in the indictment, instead of investing in "private investment trading platforms," Pantazelos and Destiny's Partners operated a Ponzi scheme in which funds from newer investors were used to make Ponzi-style payments to existing investors. Pantzelos also used investor funds to support an extravagant lifestyle, purchasing homes for himself and a family member and attempting to open a restaurant known as "Jimmy P's".
Earlier this year, the State of Illinois Securities Department issued a temporary issue of prohibition accusing Pantazelos and Destiny's Partners of various state securities law violations and prohibiting the future sale of securities by either.
A copy of the Temporary Issue of Prohibition issued by the State of Illinois is here.
A copy of the indictment is here.