Former Ga. Regent agrees to deal on $23 million Ponzi scheme charges

A former member of Georgia’s influential Board of Regents has agreed to a consent judgment that he violated federal anti-fraud laws by running a Ponzi scheme that bilked at least 100 investors out of about $23 million, federal officials said this week.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charged Dean Alford late Thursday with three counts of violating the federal Securities Act. State officials charged Alford in October with fraud and other charges concerning similar allegations.

Alford, who lives in Conyers, sold promissory notes to investors – primarily Indian-American professionals in the Columbus area – and guaranteed he would provide high annual rates of return, SEC officials said. However, Alford’s company, Allied Energy Services, was struggling and he could not repay his investors. Alford used the money he raised to make interest payments to earlier investors and for personal expenses, such as building a multi-million dollar home, the SEC said.

The scheme began in 2017, officials said.

Alford resigned in October from the Board of Regents, which oversees operational guidelines for Georgia’s public colleges and universities.

SEC officials said in a news release that the agreement Alford made with them is not a statement of admission or guilt. The civil penalties Alford will be ordered to pay will be determined at a later date, officials said.

Alford’s recent legal troubles included two civil lawsuits filed by some of the former investors. He previously denied the allegations against him. Walter E. Jospin, an attorney representing Alford, declined comment Friday.

The Georgia Attorney General’s criminal case against Alford is still active, a spokeswoman for the office said Friday.