Raleigh man pleads guilty to running Ponzi scheme
Posted May 29, 2015
Raleigh, N.C. — A Raleigh man has pleaded guilty to bilking hundreds of investors in a Ponzi scheme, authorities said.
Michael Anthony Jenkins, 59, was sentenced Tuesday to at least nine years eight months in prison after pleading guilty to three counts of felony securities fraud and one count of felony obtaining property by false pretenses.
Securities investigators with the North Carolina Secretary of State's Office said Jenkins defrauded at least 435 victims – most of them North Carolina residents – out of an estimated $1.79 million.
From January 2011 through January 2012, investigators said, he told investors he would use their funds to trade commodities futures through his company, Harbor Light Asset Management LLC. Instead, he converted funds to his personal use and used money from later investors to pay earlier ones.
“This Ponzi scheme took a serious financial toll on victims,” Secretary of State Elaine Marshall said in a statement. “We hope that the people hurt by this scam will take a measure of comfort in this prison sentence for Mr. Jenkins."
Marshall urged people to call her office before investing, noting such a call questioning Jenkins' credentials would have raised red flags in that he was never registered with the state to sell securities. He also wasn't registered with the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission to act as a commodities trader, authorities said.
In February 2014, a federal judge issued a permanent injunction against Jenkins and Harbor Light, requiring they jointly pay $1.3 million in restitution and $3.9 million in civil penalties and imposing trading and registration bans against them.