An alleged Ponzi scheme, operating in Jefferson County, Ala., ensnared at least 28 investors with possible losses in the millions of dollars, according to The Alabama Securities Commission. Spero X. Vourliotis of Birmingham was charged with securities fraud and other charges. Carey Michael Billingley of Rockford, a business partner of Vourliotis, also was arrested on securities charges.
The FBI is assisting the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office and the commission with the investigation. According to the commission, Vourliotis sold investments through self-described investment clubs called The Cornerstone Investment Group, The Capstone Group and the Tri Stone Group. The agency said the investigation indicated that Vourliotis was operating a classic “Ponzi” scheme, in which initial investors are paid from capital from later investors rather than from actual profits.
The commission said Vourliotis formed The Cornerstone Investment Group to pool capital from investors. But, after several months, he lost money through bad trades and began producing fraudulent financial statements to conceal losses. Billingsley allegedly partnered with Vourliotis in Tri Stone Investment Group and brought in new capital. Joe Borg, director of the Securities Commission, said in a statement:
This commission is committed to stopping any illegal actions involving securities and will do our best to seek appropriate punishment to those breaking the law and restitution to victims.
The Alabama Securities Commission, under the leadership of Joe Borg, does an excellent job for Alabama citizens. The commission staff works very hard and should be commended.
Sources: Al.com and Birmingham News
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