Astrology-Based Ponzi Scheme
One Florida man went a bit too far in relying on the heavens for riches. Gurudeo “Buddy” Persaud, 47, was arrested and charged with operating a Ponzi scheme that promised risk-free returns derived from investing in the futures markets and other markets.
However, the reality was that Persaud did not invest in futures markets; instead, his trading strategies were based on lunar cycles and the gravitational pull between Earth and the moon.
Persaud was a registered representative with a Florida broker-dealer. In addition, Persaud also operated the White Elephant Trading Company LLC (“White Elephant”), which he registered with the state of Florida under the name of his family members to avoid scrutiny from his employer. Persaud solicited investors by promising risk-free annual returns ranging from 6% to 18%, telling them he was able to generate such gains through trading in futures and other markets. In addition, Persaud touted his status as a certified financial planner to assure investors that their funds were safe. Persaud was able to raise at least $1 million from investors.
However, Persaud’s trading strategy of relying on lunar cycles to make trades was not only undisclosed to investors, but also generated more than $400,000 in losses. Additionally, investor funds were used to support the lavish lifestyle of Persaud and his family members.
Persaud is currently serving a three-year sentence in federal prison.