SEC seizes assets in medical account Ponzi scheme

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 - Business Money

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has implemented an emergency action to freeze the assets of Edwin Yoshihiro Fujinaga, of Las Vegas, and his company, MRI International, in connection to a Ponzi scheme designed to defraud thousands of investors.

Fujinaga and MRI International allegedly raised more than $800 million from investors who were told their money would be used to buy medical accounts receivables (MARs) that U.S. providers held against insurance companies. Fujinaga and MRI International claimed they used investor money exclusively to buy MARs at a discount and then tried to recover the full value of the MARs from the insurance companies, according to the SEC.

However, the SEC claims Fujinaga used investor money to pay the principal and interest owed to earlier investors and also used the money on luxury cars, credit card bills, alimony and child support.

The SEC will seek to recover ill-gotten gains from Fujinaga, along with imposing financial penalties and permanent injunctions.