The Idaho Department of Finance is suing four men for a pyramid investment scheme that includes $2.18 million in unregistered promissory notes to Idaho investors. The men are accused of using misrepresenting the investments as risk free and using those funds to pay back earlier investments.
“Their actions are characterized consistently as an illegal securities pyramid scheme,” said Jim Burns, the investigations chief of the finance department’s securities bureau. “One of our allegations is they failed to tell new investors that their money was being used to pay back old investors, which in a classic context is symptomatic of a Ponzi (scheme).”
Three of the four men, Brock Bruegeman, Brian Birch and Brandon Johnson, worked in or near Idaho Falls, while the fourth man in the complaint, Sonny Jensen, worked out of Utah. The men are also accused of not telling investors of their connection with Rick Koerber, a Utah man facing a criminal indictment alleging $100 million in investment fraud.
The Department of Finance wants the four men to repay their investors and put restrictions on their future business activities in the state. The lawsuit was filed in Bonneville County District Court on July 6. Burns said that the men have 20 days from that date to respond to the lawsuit.