Sure, Geoffrey H. Lunn of Sheridan, Colorado, may seem like an inveterate fraudster. True, he and his two recruits, Darlene Bishop and Vincent Curry, "solicited investors throughout the U.S. and in several foreign countries for their '.44 Magnum Leveraged Financing Program' that they promised could turn an investment of just $44,000 into $2 million within 10 to 12 banking days." Yes, "Lunn portrayed himself as the vice president of Dresdner Financial, a firm whose executives he claimed had connections to Dresdner Bank," in order to further polish the realism of his investment scheme named after a gun and promising 5,000% two-week returns.1 And, admittedly, none of this was true. "Admittedly" in the sense of "Lunn admitted in sworn testimony during the SEC's investigation that, 'It was a con, basically.'"
But hear him out. You may think he's a con man, but if so, he's a con man with a heart of gold:
The SEC alleges that Lunn did not invest any investor funds as promised and instead began making cash withdrawals after the very first investor deposit. In October 2010, Lunn began making payments to three women he met in Las Vegas whom he described as "call girls." Lunn testified that he gave at least $848,500 to the three women so that they could have "a better type of life." In November 2010, Lunn used investor money to make a $1 million Ponzi-like payment2 to a favored investor who he thought "was a deserving person."
And you know what? He wasn't even a con man. This goes way, way beyond Geoffrey Lunn. He's just a pawn in a far bigger game:
According to the SEC's complaint, Lunn also testified to SEC investigators that it was a "one-eyed man" using the alias "Robert Perello" who actually created Dresdner and the Magnum program. Lunn testified that Perello told him that he named the program accordingly because "when people found out they'd been ripped off, they would buy a .44 Magnum and shoot themselves in the head." Lunn claimed that Perello threatened to kill him and his family if he did not cooperate in the Dresdner scheme, and that he gave the cash he withdrew from investor funds and the Western Union transfers to Perello. Lunn is the only person who claims to have met Perello in person, saying he does not know Perello's true identify or current whereabouts and that his only distinguishing characteristic is that he has just one eye.
Concerned citizens should remain alert: "Despite Lunn's assertions, no individual resembling Perello has been identified or located."
1."'Lunn, Bishop, and Curry created an aura of credibility by inventing a fictitious firm with a name similar to a legitimate company,' said Robert J. Burson, Associate Regional Director of the SEC's Chicago Regional Office." DID THEY REALLY?
2.So, SEC, nice work on this case and the write-up, but: why is everything a Ponzi? There are frauds that aren't Ponzis, you know.