Minnesota-based TeamVinh.com LLC fraudulently raised more than $3 million from at least 5,600 investors across the country, securities regulators have alleged in a federal court complaint that seeks to shut down the company.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said the company founded by convicted forger Vu H. Le, also known as Vinh H. Le, solicited investors for a multilevel marketing scheme and later a commodities trading program via the Internet, promising 5 percent weekly returns.
The civil complaint filed this week in U.S. District Court in Minnesota said Le gambled away more than $2 million of investors’ money at a Las Vegas casino. Any returns to investors came out of other investors’ money “in Ponzi-like fashion,” the complaint said.
In 1995, Le was convicted of forging checks in Wisconsin and served two years in prison, the complaint said. He later was barred by Wisconsin and Minnesota from selling securities in those states because of his role in a real estate scam, the complaint said.
The complaint also seeks return of the money with interest and civil penalties.
A month after the complaint was filed, Le released a 16-page response denying wrongdoing and explaining that for some of his banking needs, “I bank and flow my personal funds in Las Vegas casinos.” But the response came several days after the court declared Le in default for not submitting a timely response.
-- David Shaffer