A Central Florida man says he and his wife are victims of an alleged $30-million Ponzi scheme that spanned more than a decade.
Cocoa Beach resident Mark Fox says he lost more than $850,000 dollars to a trusted advisor. Now, his attorneys are taking legal action to get that money back.
Fox is speaking publicly about the alleged scheme for the first time. After years of investing with Advisor Stephen Romney Swensen, Fox learned his investment was gone, along with his fictitious returns.
“To say that was a shock, and that we’re furious, would be a gross understatement,” Fox said. “My family and I have been pushed to the brink, and now at age 61, I’m trying to figure out who I can trust.”
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During a Zoom news conference Tuesday afternoon, Fox’s attorneys said they just filed a claim with the American Arbitration Association against the Utah-based advisory firm, “Wealth Navigation Advisors.”
The claim alleges supervisory failures relating to a decade-long, $29-million Ponzi scheme operated by one of its former registered investment advisors, Stephen Romney Swensen.
“It’s just astonishing,” Partner at Peiffer-Wolf Jason Kane said. “Someone clearly took their eye off of the supervision ball. They have an obligation to supervise, and they clearly failed.”
Fox’s legal action comes after a complaint filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission in October of last year against Swensen’s estate. It alleges a multi-year fraudulent securities offering that victimized more than 50 investors out of at least $29.3-million from July of 2011 until Swensen’s death on June 6 of last year.
The SEC complaint says the money was used for the living expenses for Swensen’s family and mistresses, as well as luxuries such as private airplanes.