The United States Securities and Exchange Commission has accused a Wayzata money manager of participating in a fraudulent scheme that took in at least $194 million from close to 1,000 alleged victims.
In a civil filing, the SEC contends Jason Bo-Alan Beckman and his investment firm ripped off some 140 investors for at least $39 million. Beckman allegedly sold them fraudulent investments in a purported foreign currency trading venture.
The SEC said Beckman took part in a bigger scheme orchestrated with Trevor Cook and other associates. Last year, Cook pleaded guilty to mail fraud and tax evasion and was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
The SEC charges Beckman took about about $8 million in investors' money. He allegedly used it to pay for expensive homes, luxury cars, foreign travel, country-club expenses, and other trappings of a luxurious lifestyle.
The government charges Beckman guaranteed returns of 10.5 percent to 12 percent. But much of the money was never used for foreign currency trading at all. Instead, the money was paid to other investors as purported interest and principal payments.
Beckman could not be reached for comment.