Millennium Bank, et al.
On March 25, 2009, the SEC filed an emergency action in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas to halt an alleged on-going Ponzi scheme involving the sale of bogus certificates of deposit. According to the complaint, William J. Wise and Kristi M. Hoegel orchestrated the scheme through companies they controlled, including Millennium Bank of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, its Geneva, Switzerland-based parent, United Trust of Switzerland S.A., and its U.S.-based affiliates, UT of S, LLC and Millennium Financial Group. On the same day, the Court, among other things, entered a temporary restraining order and order freezing the assets of the defendants.
The SEC alleges the defendants raised at least $68 million from more than 375 investors since July 2004 for its CD program through misrepresentations and omissions in its online solicitations and in advertising campaigns. Among other things, the SEC alleges that Millennium Bank claimed its parent, United Trust of Switzerland S.A., had "over 75 years of banking experience, correspondent banking relationships, decades of knowledge in privacy and confidentiality as well as extensive training for our customer services professionals." In fact, the SEC alleges that United Trust of Switzerland S.A. is not a Swiss-licensed bank or securities dealer.
The SEC also alleges that Millennium Bank's website falsely stated that: (1) Millennium Bank was not affected by the global financial crisis, (2) had a 100% client satisfaction record going back close to 10 years and (3) had its own affiliate asset management company with highly seasoned professionals who invested meticulously. To the contrary, the SEC alleges the vast majority of investor funds were used to make Ponzi payments or for the promotersí personal expenses.
For more information about the SECís action, you can read Litigation Release No. 20974 (Mar. 26, 2009).
The Court also appointed Richard Roper as Receiver to take control of the defendantsí assets and financial records. For the latest information about the Receivership, you can visit the Receiverís website.