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15 January 2009


Jay Smith

I don't understand the thinking behind the sentence beginning "Notation T1--092 Persons cannot be added ...". If Ponzi schemes are classed under the number for fraud, and if the perpetrator of the fraud is the subject of a book, why would 364.163092 be inappropriate? Does that number only represent the biography of a person engaged in *all* types of fraud imaginable (the "whole")?

Jay Smith

By the way, this book, classified (apparently) at the Library of Congress, uses the number 364.163092.

LCCN 2008029671
OCLC 179826409
ISBN 9780061579660
The hit charade : Lou Pearlman, boy bands, and the biggest Ponzi scheme in U.S. history / Tyler Gray.

Mark Annick


Given the nature of this blog, I thought you might be interested in the following, from Zwerling, Schachter & Zwerling in New York.



New York Law Firm Zwerling, Schachter & Zwerling to
Pursue Securities Fraud Claims Against Provident Royalties

NEW YORK – The New York law firm of Zwerling, Schachter & Zwerling, LLP, has been retained by clients to pursue potential claims of securities fraud involving Dallas-based Provident Royalties, LLC.

On July 7, 2009, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed suit against Provident Royalties and its three principals alleging securities fraud. Paul "Russ" Melbye, Brendan Coughlin and Henry Harrison are accused of engaging in a classic Ponzi scheme involving the sale of approximately $485 million in oil- and gas-related securities to more than 7,000 investors between September 2006 and January 2009.

Provident Royalties allegedly promised annual returns of up to 18 percent from investments in oil and gas real estate, leases, and mineral rights through its broker-dealer, Provident Asset Management. The SEC also claims that Provident Royalties and its principals misled investors about what they were buying and how the funds would be used.

According to the SEC, the bulk of new investor money went to pay promised returns to earlier investors. Authorities claim Provident Royalties used less than half the new investor money to purchase new interests in oil and gas properties.

“The last few years saw an explosion of oil and natural gas investment, especially in places like the Barnett Shale in North Texas,” says Jeffrey Zwerling, a founding partner of Zwerling, Schachter & Zwerling. “Once the price of oil and natural gas plummeted last year, it appears that the bottom fell out of Provident Royalties.”

Mr. Zwerling and his firm represent investors who lost significant amounts of money in Provident Royalties’ investments. The firm will be investigating the actions of Provident Royalties, its principals and related companies, including Provident Asset Management, LLC., Provident Energy, LP, and Shale Royalties, Inc.

Zwerling, Schachter & Zwerling, LLP represents clients nationwide in financial-related class action lawsuits. With offices in New York City, Garden City, N.Y. and Seattle, the firm currently plays a leading role in numerous major securities and complex commercial litigations pending in federal and state courts. The firm has been recognized by courts throughout the country as highly experienced and skilled in complex litigation, particularly with respect to federal securities class-action litigation. To learn more, please visit the firm’s Web site at http://www.zsz.com.

For more information, please contact Mark Annick at 800-559-4534, 214-213-1754 or mark@androvett.com, or Shaye Fuchs at 1-800-721-3900 or SFuchs@zsz.com.


Ponzi's are rampant and I think that the Madoff case has taken a public eye on the topic as a whole. The crushing pressure on the SEC is causing reform, as it should based on the lack of prevention and penalty. I am confident in time they will no longer be called ponzi schemes and based on the quaking impact of Bernie Madoff's cased, it will now be referred to as a Madoff scheme.


Ponzi schemes are more common than people realize, and there are things which probably deserve to be called out for being Ponzi schemes (like Amway/Quixstar). It was funny, a while ago I took a tour of an alpaca farm after seeing one of those alpaca farming TV commercials. Alpacas are those fuzzy llama-like creatures. And it sounds ludicrous, but I discovered that alpaca farming is pretty Ponzi scheme-like! You invest in a share of an alpaca and then you get money when they get sold off or bred, so long as new people flow into the system. It was crazy. If anyone's curious I wrote up how it works: http://skepticurious.com/2004/06/14/the-great-alpaca-ponzi-scheme/

It's a shame, they sure are cute...



This whole statement about Craig Gutowsky is completely false. I know Craig very good and about his situation. He did not do the investing for anyone, Fact. After working for a company for 12 years in that type of trade you are going to have some injuries, he had 2 and they were legit. His start time at work was never 5am, False. He never had a retirement party, False. Retirement means working no more but he quit his job to start his own business Play& Trade dosent sound like retiring to me? He was involved in a ponzi scam and lost alot of money also, he was a victim himself. He tried helping 2 of his friends that ended up losing in the scam and they are blaming him for there losses. Sounds like a couple of losers to me can't man up and take there losses as well have to blame anyone but themselves. Family members involved, False. Spend more in a month than he made in a year, False. He is being charged, True. But when the truth comes out in court which he is doing, not trying to cop a plea a sign of a true man that is not guilty. I recently went to a party at the gutowsky,s home in cary and there were atleast 85-100 people there. If he stole from so many he would be laying low and no one would come to one of there parties. He still goes golfing all of the time also, so what! The Loser that posted this is just trying to hurt craig's reputation but everybody that know's Craig know's the truth and that is all that matters.

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