SEC levels charges in astrology-based fraud
CHICAGO (MarketWatch) -- The Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday charged a former Florida broker with fraud for his role in bilking investors via an astrology-based Ponzi scheme. Gurudeo "Buddy" Persaud allegedly lured family, friends, and other people into putting money into his White Elephant Trading Company , promising their money would be safe and they would enjoy returns of 6% to 18%. Persaud told his victims that he would invest their cash in debt, stock, futures and real estate but left out the fact that he was using "an Internet service that provided directional market forecasts based on lunar cycles and gravitational pull," the SEC said. He lost at least $400,000 of investor money with that system while creating phony statements to hide it. He also diverted about the same amount to pay for some personal expenses, the SEC charged. "When Persaud blatantly lied to investors and hid their losses through a Ponzi scheme, he should have known that an SEC enforcement action was in the stars," said Eric Bustillo, director of the SEC's Miami office.