Mantria in Speed of Wealth: A "Green" Ponzi Scheme

November 17 2009, 10:16 AM

Wayde and Donna McKelvys promoted a green dream---Mantria in Speed of Wealth---in seminars and webinars, urging people to invest in "carbon negative" housing developments in rural Tennessee while marketing biochar, a charcoal substitute made from organic waste. Investors were urged to cash out their stock or retirement funds, or even borrow against their homes, with the promise of returns of 17 percent or higher. The McKelvys, whose lies included that biochar facilities were producing some 25 tons a day, then reaped a 12.5 percent commission for themselves without telling investors. But now, the apparent $30 million Ponzi scheme is over, as the Securities Exchange Commission moved Monday to freeze assets in Colorado and Pennsylvania, accusing the McKelvys, who are the principals of Speed of Wealth LLC in Centennial, and Mantria executives Troy Wragg and Amanda Knorr in Philadelphia of using new investment cash to pay off earlier investors, reports The Denver Post. An SEC complaint accuses each of the defendants of violating anti-fraud and other aspects of securities law, writes the Denver Business Journal, adding that the SEC seeks injunctions, disgorgement, and financial penalties.

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