Judge enters order against alleged "green" Ponzi scheme

Michael P. Tremoglie Sep. 19, 2012, 9:57am

DENVER (Legal Newsline) - The Securities and Exchange Commission obtained a final judgment on Thursday for an alleged $135 million "green" Ponzi scheme.

Philadelphia-based Mantria Corporation attracted investors by claiming it was building a carbon-negative community using an alternative energy source. It is alleged that Wayde and Donna McKelvy, through their Denver-based company Speed of Wealth LLC, and Mantria executives Troy B. Wragg and Amanda E. Knorr raised funds for numerous "green" initiatives such as the rural Tennessee "carbon negative" housing community which used a charcoal substitute made from organic waste called "biochar."

The SEC alleged that the "green" representations were fraudulent and also that investors were falsely promised enormous returns on their investments ranging from 17 percent to "hundreds of percent" annually.

Mantria's environmental initiatives did not generate any significant cash, and any returns paid to investors were funded almost exclusively from other investors' funds, the SEC said.

Judge Christine M. Arguello, U.S. District Court Judge for the District of Colorado, entered final judgments against Speed of Wealth and the McKelvys ordering disgorgement, prejudgment interest and civil penalties totaling more than $135 million.

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.

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