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$300 million Ponzi scheme exposed

Federal officials say they’ve charged five former real estate executives in a $300 million Ponzi scheme, the Associated Press is reporting.

According to the AP, the Securities and Exchange Commission filed civil charges in Miami federal court Wednesday against former Cay Club president and CEO Fred Davis Clark Jr., chief accounting officer David W. Schwarz, manager and sales agent Cristal R. Coleman, sales director Barry J. Graham and sales director Ricky Lynn Stokes.

The SEC says Cay Clubs Resorts and Marinas took money from nearly 1,400 investors, touting the profitability of purchasing units at resorts in Florida and Las Vegas.

According to the report, instead of developing the properties, the SEC says the executives used new investments to pay earlier investors. They also reportedly paid themselves salaries and commissions totaling more than $30 million.

The complaint seeks financial penalties from Clark, Coleman and Stokes and the return of ill-gotten gains from all five executives.