The Securities Division of the Nevada Secretary of State charged a Las Vegas man with running a Ponzi scheme that may cost investors millions of dollars. Hans Seibt, 70, was charged with twenty-five counts of securities fraud and six counts of theft in connection with a scheme that targeted investors in several states. The FBI's office in Las Vegas also confirmed that an investigation into Seibt was ongoing, and a Las Vegas newspaper cites sources who indicated a federal grand jury may soon be asked to asked to indict Seibt on charges of mail and wire fraud.
Seibt, who purported to be a successful real-estate developer, has been under increasing investigation since he and several companies he founded filed for bankruptcy protection in November 2008, citing debts exceeding $70 million. These companies included HSLV Development Corporation and Clark and Nye County Development Corporation, which solicited investments of $10,000 or more from investors. In return, investors received trust deeds, joint venture agreements, or subscription agreements, which supposedly were secured by land Seibt owned in Nye County. Instead, authorities allege, Seibt used investor funds to pay personal expenses and to fund distributions to other investors.
A trustee appointed to oversee the liquidation of Seibt's companies has been quoted as viewing the prospects of any meaningful recovery for defrauded investors as "pretty bleak." The bankruptcy judge overseeing the case has refused to grant a discharge of Seibt's debts due to increasing evidence that Seibt was running a Ponzi scheme, meaning that Seibt cannot utilize the protections of bankruptcy law against creditors.
Seibt is currently in a Las Vegas county jail, and is scheduled to make his first appearance Monday.