Litigation Release No. 23509 / March 31, 2016

Securities and Exchange Commission v. John Scott Clark, Civil Action No. 1:16-cv-00040-JNP (D. Utah filed Mar. 31, 2016)

SEC Charges Repeat Offender with New Investment Scam

The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced fraud charges against a Cache County, Utah man who solicited investors in a bogus scheme involving investments in "top secret" Iraqi currency and oil contracts.

In a related criminal action, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Utah announced that John Scott Clark, of Cache County, Utah, pled guilty to felony securities fraud for his participation in the scheme. Clark will pay more than $1.7 million in criminal restitution and serve 36 months in prison.

The SEC charged Clark in 2011 for operating a $47 million Ponzi scheme and he pled guilty in 2009 to bank fraud, money laundering and illegal gambling.

According to the SEC complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Utah:

  • Clark and his business partner solicited at least $1.7 million over approximately seven years, including from investors in Clark's earlier Ponzi scheme and from members of his church congregation.
  • Clark and his business partner claimed to have access to a top secret U.S. military and government program that enabled them to invest in Iraqi dinar and oil contracts with foreign governments and large oil companies.
  • Clark provided written guarantees that investors would receive annual returns in excess of 3,000 percent. Clark told investors that within 90 days, a $1,000 investment would yield $125,000 and a $20,000 investment would guarantee a $3 million payout.
  • Clark assured investors that the investment risk was low, that the returns were "too good to be true." and "[all] you have to do for that [return] is not talk about it."
  • Clark instructed investors to deposit funds into bank accounts that were not in his name.
  • Clark told investors that his business partner had special corporate, military, and government access through ties to the President of Kuwait, the President of the International Monetary Fund, President Barack Obama and three former U.S. presidents.
  • Clark and his business partner used investors' funds to pay for their personal expenses. When Clark and his business partner failed to pay investors as promised, they offered a variety of sham excuses, including that President Obama signed an executive order to stop the investment payout.

The SEC investigation was conducted by Jennifer Moore of the agency's Salt Lake Regional Office. Daniel Wadley and Amy Oliver will handle the litigation. The SEC appreciates the assistance of the North Park Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Utah.