Hedge fund frauds come in all shapes and sizes. Some guarantee modest but literally unbelievably steady low double-digit annual returns. Others offer the same results, but on a quarterly basis. Equally bold con men report annualized returns of better than 50%, brought down by disappointing years in which they returned (well, not actually, but you get the drift) a mere 13.14%. The still more brazen offer triple-digit returns that (ought to, anyway) strain credulity.

Any of the above claims should raise suspicions among would-be investors. Promises of returns of between 1,200% and 40,000% should raise suspicions by anywhere from 100% to 4,000%, by our reckoning. Coupled with the pledge that said returns would come from “‘prime bank’ financial instruments,” those suspicions should probably have been heightened, to skepticism at a minimum. Now, if one were still interested in the opportunity, a simple Google search of the principals’ names might seem in order, one which would turn up a nearly $4 million scam “involving fictional trading of securities purportedly issued by major international banks,” but still producing weekly $1 million returns on an investment of $50,000. And still:

Recidivist David Sims, his partner, Mario Procopio, and their lawyer, Ralph Craig Greaves… operated a fraudulent scheme that raised over $1.4 million from investors…. The complaint alleged that Sims and Procopio falsely told investors they had special access to trade platforms used by governments, corporations, and wealthy investors to buy vast sums of currency, usually $500 million or more, at a discounted price. Sims and Procopio allegedly told investors they could "piggyback" their money on these large trading platforms and reap huge returns with "absolutely no risk."

Yup, 40,000% returns with no risk on mysterious instruments traded on secretive platforms by a guy sued by the SEC for pretty much the same thing 20 years ago managed to ensnare at least 13 people to the tune of $1.4 million. No one tell them about the colloidal silver.

SEC Settles with Perpetrators of Fraudulent Prime Bank Scheme [SEC]