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The Securities and Exchange Commission sought to freeze the assets of Shawn Merriman and his Market Street Advisors firm Wednesday, alleging the Denver-based money manager bilked investors of as much as $20 million to finance his "lavish lifestyle," Bloomberg reports. The lawsuit, filed by federal regulators in U.S. District Court in Denver, alleges Merriman operated a Ponzi scheme for 15 years and spent proceeds on "his own personal purchases of classic cars, motorcycles, motor homes, a cabin in Idaho, and fine art collections, including works by Rembrandt that are worth millions of dollars."
Most of the Colorado focus of stories detailing the fallout of Bernard Madoff’s $65 billion Ponzi scheme have dealt with Aspen’s Jewish community, which is reeling from the real estate ripple effects. But one of the most high-profile – and at one point controversial – development projects that might be impacted by Madoff’s epic 20-year pattern of investment fraud is in Vail, where a massive $250 million development in the heart of the faux-Bavarian village is currently under construction.
With a completely straight face, a very nice fellow at a New Years Eve party told me his investment adviser was racking up 40 percent returns on his portfolio. The other guests audibly gasped and then asked if the adviser was Bernard Madoff's younger brother? In a year when the Dow Jones plunged to near record levels — losing 34 percent of its value in a single year — the lure of get-rich-quick schemes seem to have no end in sight for newly energized SEC regulators, according to Bloomberg News.