AUSTIN (December 6, 2013) Two people have been charged in connection with a Central Texas-based Ponzi scheme that raised nearly $18 million purportedly for investments in oil and gas interests, federal prosecutors say.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said Friday that Robert A. Helms and Janniece S. Kaelin used most of the money from investors in more than a dozen states for personal and business expenses.
An SEC complaint contends the pair violated antifraud provisions of the Securities Exchange Act.
Helms and Kaelin operated Austin-based Vendetta Royalty Partners.
Prosecutors say Ponzi payments were made to investors to create the impression they were earning returns on a profitable investment.
The complaint says the two failed to disclose to investors pending litigation against them and misrepresented the performance of investments under their management.