The Securities and Exchange Commission has reported it has taken emergency action to obtain a temporary restraining order and an asset freeze to stop an alleged Ponzi scheme and misappropriation of investor proceeds perpetrated by Melbourne, Florida, resident Jonathan P. Maroney through several entities he controls.
According to the SEC's complaint filed in federal court in the Middle District of Florida, since about May 2015, Maroney and his companies raised at least $17.1 million from more than 100 investors in a series of fraudulent securities offerings. The complaint alleges that Maroney, his company Harbor City Capital Corp., and his various other entities told investors that offering proceeds would be used to finance the defendants' online "customer lead generation campaigns," and promised investors annual returns ranging from 10% to 60% from the resale of those leads to other businesses. In fact, according to the complaint, little if any investor funds actually went to the lead generation business. Instead, Maroney allegedly misappropriated at least $4.48 million in investor funds to enrich himself and his family, including the purchase and maintenance of his waterfront home and a Mercedes Benz, and to pay for his extensive credit card bills and renovation-related expenses on the house.
Maroney is also alleged to have misused investor money by making payments to other entities unrelated to the supposed purpose of the offerings, and to have fraudulently used investor funds to make monthly interest payments and other payouts to investors in classic Ponzi scheme fashion.