BULLETIN: Trevor Cook Charged Criminally With Mail Fraud And Tax Evasion In Alleged $190 Million Ponzi Case In Minnesota
Cook, 37, previously had been charged civilly by the SEC and the CFTC. The criminal charges filed today came after a probe by the FBI and the IRS Criminal Investigations Unit, working with the regulatory agencies.
Prosecutors alleged Cook filed a false tax return in 2009, failing to report report taxable income of at least $5.2 million “upon which there was tax due in the amount of at least” $1.8 million, prosecutors said.
Cook was charged via a criminal information, rather than an indictment. Such charging documents sometimes mean a defendant is negotiating with prosecutors.
Prosecutors said Cook was “aided and abetted by others” in a scheme that fleeced at least 1,000 people “out of at least $190 million by purportedly selling investments in a foreign currency trading program,” prosecutors said.
“In reality,” prosecutors continued, “he was diverting the money provided him for other purposes, including making payments to previous investors; providing funds to Crown Forex, SA, in an effort to deceive Swiss banking regulators; purchasing ownership interest in two trading firms; buying a real estate development in Panama; paying personal expenses, including substantial gambling debts; and acquiring the Van Dusen Mansion in Minneapolis.”
The mansion has been sold by R.J. Zayed, the court-appointed receiver in the civil case. Zayed also has sold large-screen TVs and automobiles linked to the scheme, including a Rolls-Royce.
Prosecutors said the Cook case was being tackled by the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, which President Obama formed late last year.
U.S. Attorney B. Todd Jones ofÂ the District of Minnesota made the announcement of the criminal charges against Cook.
Cook has been in jail since January as a result of a contempt of court order in the civil case, which was brought by the SEC and the CFTC.
Former Christian radio host Pat Kiley also was charged in the civil case.
The narrative of the Cook story occasionally has played out like a James Bond movie, with references to a submarine, an island retreat, Faberge eggs and foreign currency purportedly acquired by Cook with fraud proceeds.
A real-estate agent ventured to Cook’s island in Canada during the winter on a snowmobile to get the lay of the land, according to court filings.