U.S. District Judge Kent Dawson found “Lord” David Greene, an alleged promoter of a Ponzi scheme, in civil contempt for violating several court orders requiring documents and information, the Securities and Exchange Commission said Monday.
Greene, an owner of Las Vegas-based Gold-Quest International, was sentenced to 60 days in jail but the sentence will be extended if he continues to disobey court orders.
The judge issued a bench warrant for Greene, who has not been arrested.
Defense attorney Todd Leventhal acknowledged the contempt order. “When we get the information that the SEC needs, we’ll turn it over to them,” Levethal said.
The contempt order “sends a message to defendants that the SEC will vigorously pursue those who fail to comply with court orders and who attempt to hide ill-gotten assets,” Rosalind Tyson, SEC regional director, said in a statement.
Greene and other owners misrepresented that investor money would be used in foreign currency exchange trading but less than 5 percent was used for that purpose, according to the SEC.
Since mid-2006, Gold-Quest has misappropriated $27.9 million from 2,100 investors in Canada and the United States, according to the SEC. Gold-Quest used $19.1 million to pay older investors in a Ponzilike scheme, the SEC said.
Gold-Quest and its owners claim they are members of the Little Shell Nation Indian Tribe and are not subject to jurisdiction of the United States and Canada. The Indian nation is said to be headquartered in North Dakota.
The judge rejected that argument and concluded that the Little Shell Nation is not recognized as a tribe or nation.
Contact reporter John G. Edwards at email@example.com or 702-383-0420.