Feds sue to stop purported investment scheme

Federal regulators filed a civil complaint this week against two individuals, including a former metro Atlanta woman, accused of running a more than $15 million investment scheme that guaranteed hefty annual returns in a “clandestine” European investment.

Dianne Alexander, 70, formerly of Cumming, and Billy Wayne McClintock, 70 of Bradenton, Fla., are accused of recruiting more than 220 investors across 20 states, but mostly in Georgia, according to a complaint filed Monday by the Securities and Exchange Commission in U.S. District Court in Atlanta.

A federal judge also ordered frozen Alexander and McClintock’s assets, as well as the assets of three companies associated with them. The extent of investors’ losses is not clear.

“It’s very sensitive,” said Darryl Cohen, an attorney for Alexander. “I think it is a typical SEC complaint and the civil charges are very serious and we are dealing with them along with negotiating with the SEC.” He declined further comment.

Attempts to reach McClintock were not immediately successful.

The so-called “prime bank” scheme, a style of Ponzi scheme, used proceeds from new investors to pay off old ones and allegedly operated since at least 2004, the SEC said in the complaint.

Alexander, who also went by the name Linda and now lives in Carlsbad, Calif., allegedly told investors to ignore the old saw that something too good to be true probably is, calling it “”A lie that came from the pit of hell.”

The suit claims Alexander told investors: “Put your money in the Trust and your trust in God.”

The SEC said Alexander and McClintock told investors they were making loans to “the Trust,” and could expect 38 percent annual returns if they followed secrecy rules.

The purported investment organization owned European banks and was controlled by wealthy Europeans, and only friends and family members of Trust members could know about it.

The SEC said McClintock and Alexander were friends for many years, and he recruited Alexander as an investor in the Trust and ultimately as a director.

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