WASHINGTON, Sept. 30 (UPI) -- U.S. regulators charged a South Florida woman with defrauding investors of $878,000, in part by using new investor funds to pay established investors.
The Securities and Exchange Commission alleges the set-up was a "classic Ponzi" scheme in which Jenny Coplan of Tamarac promised investors, primarily Colombian-Americans, from 60 percent to 108 percent returns annually on their investment.
Coplan raised $4 million from more than 90 investors in Florida, California, Georgia, Texas, Canada and Colombia, the SEC said. She allegedly told the investors her company, Immigration General Services, would use an investment broker to invest in immigration bail bonds, the SEC said. She also told clients their funds were insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the federal agency that insures bank deposits.
"However, Coplan never placed investor funds with any investment broker, and their money was never FDIC insured," the SEC said.
The investment money went, instead, to pay for personal expenses, the SEC said.
"Coplan deliberately misled investors into believing their investments were safe and secure when in reality she was lining her own pockets," Eric Bustillo, director of the SEC's Miami regional office, said in a statement.
"Her predatory scheme exploited the trust and friendship of members of her own community by using empty promises to convince them to trust her with their hard-earned savings."