Fund manager charged over 14-year-old Ponzi scheme

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WASHINGTON, DC - Another US fund manager has been charged with fraud by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for operating a $50 million Ponzi scheme between 1995 and 2008 - without detection.

The latest fraud comes only a month after news broke of Bernard Madoff's $50 billion Ponzi scheme, which had operated since 2006 without regulatory oversight. The SEC is already in the Congressional dock over the Madoff debacle.

The regulator claims the investment fund manager Joseph P Forte scammed 80 investors with the Ponzi - or Pyramid - scheme. The SEC has now secured an emergency court order to freeze Forte's assets.

SEC spokesman Daniel Hawke said: "As alleged in our complaint, Forte engaged in lies, deception and rapacious behaviour at the expense of innocent investors, many of whom considered themselves his friends and close acquaintances."

Forte had reported 37.96% returns, but between January 1998 and October 2008 made trading losses of $3.3 million, according to SEC-filed papers. During that time, the SEC alleges, Forte secreted millions more dollars in "fees" into his personal accounts.

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