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SEC accuses North Carolina man of operating Ponzi scheme

May 20, 2022 GMT

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Federal authorities have accused a North Carolina man of operating a $7 million Ponzi scheme that defrauded at least 75 investors and used the money he gained to make mortgage payments and pay for private schools for his children.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said in a news release that it filed an emergency action Thursday in U.S. District Court. The complaint charges Wynn Charlebois of Charlotte and his company, WC Private, with violating antifraud provisions.

According to the SEC’s complaint, Charlebois defrauded the investors since 2019 using multiple bogus investment opportunities. Most of the victims live in the Charlotte area, the news release said.

Most recently, through his company, Charlebois offered investors opportunities to share in the profits earned by participating in the exercise of fake options contracts, the SEC said.

From May 2019 until last month, Charlebois directed nearly $122,000 in investor funds to a private university where one of his children attends school, the SEC said. He paid more than $65,000 to a private high school where another one of his children attends school and nearly $3,000 to a local social club. He also made more than $8,600 in personal mortgage payments since Dec. 31, according to the SEC.

Charlebois declined comment to The Associated Press on Friday.