Anchorage man suspected of defrauding millions from Alaskans in affinity scam
Officials say Garrett Elder used Tycoon Trading LLC to conduct Ponzi-like scheme
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - An Anchorage man is suspected of defrauding dozens of Alaskans out of millions of dollars in a Ponzi-like scheme, according to Alaska’s Division of Banking and Securities.
On Oct. 14, the division issued its second interim temporary cease and desist order against Tycoon Trading LLC and Garrett Elder. In a press release, the division said that Elder posed as a registered investment advisor, when in fact, he nor his company were never properly registered as required by state law.
“We definitely do not see scams like this all the time,” Division of Banking and Securities Director Robert Schmidt said. “This is not a normal course of events. This is a profoundly large scam that has dramatically, and in some cases, horrifically impacted many, many Alaskans.”
Schmidt says investors range in age from 6 to 65-years-old.
Schmidt says that 29-year-old targeted investors by meeting with people through church, social groups, and other events. In turn, they’d refer his services to their friends. So far, Schmidt says that 39 Alaskans have reported being defrauded $7.4 million. Schmidt says Elder sold what he “claimed” to be profit-sharing agreements, investment contracts, and securities through his business, Tycoon Trading LLC — located at 7120 Old Seward Highway in Anchorage.
“Essentially, he would falsify financial statements to show great returns, but these statements were just made up,” Schmidt says.
DBS’s investigation began a few weeks ago when a certified public accountant contacted the department after spotting irregularities in a client’s tax reports.
“He would take the new people, the new investors’ money to pay out to the older investors,” Schmidt said. “Eventually over time, the pyramid collapsed.”
“From what we understand he (Elder) made some statements to his relative, who then related those statements to one of the investors that he had made some mistakes trading, and that he lost a bunch of money, and all the money was gone,” said DBS Financial Examiner George Humm.
Humm said that shortly after learning about the scam, he sent Elder a letter and that’s when the relative contacted him.
Elder registered Tycoon Trading as an LLC back in 2012. In March of this year, Elder filed a biennial report listing the company’s physical address as 7120 Old Seward Highway Suite 205, and his personal physical address as 1569 Bragaw, Suite 202. Alaska’s News Source visited the office building, and was unable to locate a Suite 202. An address Elder listed for on one of his real estate companies lead to a townhome in East Anchorage, but no one answered the door.
“They seem to be nice people,” Elder’s next-door neighbor Roy Martin said.
Martin says he hasn’t seen Elder for some time and has been collecting his mail in his absence. Martin says the last time he saw Elder was, “like a month ago, kind of like a month ago.”
In the temporary cease and desist order, the division is seeking $7,433,274.00 in restitution for Elder’s investors, and an additional civil penalty of $1,777,000. On Oct. 12, two people filed a complaint in Alaska’s Civil Superior Court against Elder and Tycoon Trading LLC. The attorney representing the two complainants offered no comment.
Schmidt believes more victims and millions more in lost investments will be found. They advise potential investors to only work with registered investment advisors, who are required by law to be registered with the state of Alaska. To find out if someone is a registered investment advisor, Alaskans can go to brokercheck.org and look up their name to confirm they’re legitimately authorized to conduct investments.
The Division of Banking and Securities are asking anyone who believes they have been impacted by Elder to contact them. Additionally, the Alaska’s News Source investigative team also wants to hear from anyone who believes they are a victim of Elder.
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