BULLETIN: Mantria Ponzi Scheme Pitchmen Hit With Millions Of Dollars In Disgorgement And Penalties — And Principals Ordered To Pay Tens Of Millions
BULLETIN: Two pitchmen for the Mantria Corp. “green” Ponzi scheme have been ordered to pay millions of dollars in disgorgement and penalties, including a purported wealth coach who advised people who contacted him after the 2009 collapse of Mantria to join the Trump Network MLM “opportunity.”
Mantria purportedly was an environmentally friendly investment opportunity. In reality, the SEC said, it was a massive Ponzi scheme that was selling unregistered securities through unregistered broker-dealers.
Any returns paid to investors “were funded almost exclusively from other investors’ funds,” the SEC said.
Wayde M. McKelvy of Speed of Wealth LLC was ordered by U.S. District Judge Christine M. Arguello of the District of Colorado to pay $6,273,632.78 in disgorgement, interest of $869,141.87 and a civil penalty of $6,273,632.78.
McKelvy, an MLM pitchman who also was pushing Mantria, described himself as a wealth coach with “Wealthalete[s]” as pupils and prospects.
McKelvy’s former wife — Donna McKelvy — was ordered to pay $429,731.84 in disgorgement, interest of $55,172.93 and a civil penalty of $214,865.92.
Arguello ordered even greater disgorgement and penalties against Mantria principals Troy B. Wragg and Amanda E. Knorr.
“The Court ordered Wragg and Knorr to pay $37,031,035.36 in disgorgement plus interest of $3,713,772.06 jointly and severally with Mantria Corporation and a civil penalty of $37,031,035.36 each,” the SEC said today.
All in all, Arguello ordered more than $135 million in monetary relief in the Mantria/Speed of Wealth case, the SEC said.
The agency brought the Mantria Ponzi case in 2009, saying the “promoters fraudulently exaggerated Mantria’s green initiatives and used high-pressure tactics to convince investors to chase the promise of lucrative returns.”
Strangeness marked the early days of the Mantria case. When reporters contacted Wayde McKelvy by email for comment, they received back a pitch for the Trump Network.
“I am totally focused on one thing right now which I believe will be very, very fun and the opportunity to put money in your pocket by owning you’re [sic] own business with the help of ‘The Donald,” one of the McKelvy pitches claimed.
Among other things, Mantria traded on the name of former President Bill Clinton, along with a host of other politicians and celebrities. It is not unusual for scams to attach their names to prominent individuals.