Ziena “Zeeluv” Smidi, a traveling yoga teacher, must pay federal authorities almost $5.6 million for her role in a Ponzi scheme that collected over $30 million from investors. Smidi and her former fiancé, James Clements, were operating groups of companies entitled, Maximum Return Transactions. The pair operated under MRT for two years, promising investors high returns from foreign currency trading. SEC lawyers accused the couple of moving $3 million of investors’ money into their personal bank accounts and spending another $3 million on extravagant meals, vacations, and events. Smidi was ordered to pay $2.5 million in profits she made, $2.5 million in civil penalties and $600,000 in interest. Smidi and Clements are still facing judgments filed by unpaid investors for $50 million.
Leading fraud expert, Linda Webb, AKA The Fraud Dog says that Ponzi schemes come in all professions. No profession is left untainted. The fraudsters actions can often times hurt many honest people. Don’t let the actions of one bad fraudster taint your view of that profession. Let’s face it, the fraudster can be great at convincing people into schemes that are too good to be true, yet people still invest. Be careful of investment scammers and do your due diligence. The fraudster will target 1 out of 3 people this year. Be on alert and if it doesn’t sound right, then slow down and do not make a quick decision. Fraudsters will often times ask for your investment dollars with “haste”, which as the old saying goes, “can make waste” thereupon losing your investment dollars to the fraudster. Take your time to understand who you are doing business with says the Fraud Dog.
To report potentially fraudulent activity, contact Linda Webb aka The Fraud Dog, leading fraud expert at 1-855-FRAUD-DOG.