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WASHINGTON — Instead of 20% returns guaranteed to come every 30 days, investors lost at least $25 million in yet another Ponzi scheme.On Jan. 15, the Securities and Exchange Commission obtained an emergency court order to freeze the assets of Atlanta-based CRE Capital Corp. and its president, James G. Ossie. According to the SEC complaint, CRE and Ossie fraudulently obtained at least $25 million from investors during 2008 by representing that it would use their money to engage in a currency trading program. Most investors were advised that they would receive guaranteed returns of 10% every 30 days, although a few investors were promised as much as 20%, the SEC said, adding CRE’s currency trading was not profitable and returns were paid to investors out of principal and money invested by later investors.According to the complaint, CRE also falsely claimed that the firm and its program were audited by an outside accounting firm, which had concluded that CRE was not a Ponzi scheme. The SEC’s complaint charged CRE and Ossie with fraud relating to their offer to sell $100 million in CRE stock that was slated to begin in early 2009.The SEC’s emergency court order requesting a freeze of CRE and Ossie’s assets also seeks to appoint a receiver.“The SEC’s emergency action in this case will protect investors from further harm-both those who have invested and need all remaining assets preserved as well as those who were contemplating an investment,” said Katherine Addleman, regional director of the SEC’s Atlanta office. “We also want to remind investors to be skeptical of promoters promising exorbitant returns. Such claims should be a red flag to investors.”Since December, the commission has discovered several Ponzi schemes including one involving $50 billion through Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC.–msamaad@cutimes.com

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