Saturday, February 28, 2015

SEC Halts $5.3 million Twitter/Uber Ponzi Scheme

On Feb. 27, 2015 the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged Gregory W. Gray Jr. and his firms Archipel Capital LLC and BIM Management LP with fraud for operating a Ponzi scheme.

Gray and his firms would solicit money for a fund investing in pre-IPO shares of Twitter (NYSE: TWTR). The shares were to be delivered to investors once the company went public. Gray raised $5.3 million, but only purchased a fraction of the shares he was supposed to purchase with the funds. He then appeased investors with funds from other unrelated funds to make up for the shortfall.

The complaint was filed in the Southern District of New York, the location of an investor which gave Gray $5 million to  purchase shares of Uber Technologies, however, Gray fabricated a stock purchase agreement to convince the investor that shares of Uber were being purchased in his name when in actuality they were being used to pay back investors in Twitter.

Andrew M. Calamari, Director of the SEC’s New York Regional Office had this to say about the announcement:
Gray sold investors on a seemingly great idea to acquire pre-IPO shares of high-profile companies like Twitter and Uber at a low price.  But rather than come clean when he failed to invest as promised, Gray stole from investors to cover his misdeeds.
To read the original announcement click here.