Last week, it was announced that the Securities and Exchange Commission had charged a Bellefonte, Pennsylvania insurance agent with being involved in a Ponzi scheme that targeted retail investors who lacked significant investment experience. The SEC’s complaint alleges that from at least 2010 through 2017, James E. Hocker entered into a relationship with several investors by selling them insurance.
After Hocker allegedly managed to gain their trust, he convinced them to invest with him by falsely promising guaranteed returns of between 10 and 30% from investments he intended to make on their behalf. It is alleged that some investors withdrew their insurance policy or retirement accounts to fund their investment.
In reality, it is alleged that Hocker did not invest any of the investors’ funds. Instead, he is accused of pocketing the money and using it for personal expenses. Over the last five years, the defendant allegedly raised roughly $1.27 million from approximately 25 investors. Many of the victims were elderly retirees or those nearing retirement. Some were widows who relied on the defendant to manage their money following the death of their husbands. Further details have been made available here.