By JAMES SWIFT
A 21-year-old Cartersville resident was arraigned Monday in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia on a litany of charges in connection to a foreign investment scheme he has allegedly operated since 2016.
Kevin Perry, the founder and CEO of Lucrative Pips Corp., was indicted by a grand jury last December on allegations of wire fraud. Less than three months earlier, the United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) filed a complaint against the Acworth-based business for several violations of the Commodity Exchange Act and failing to adhere to a number of commission regulations.
Perry attended Allatoona High School in Acworth and played basketball at the College of Coastal Georgia in Brunswick.
Among other illegal activities, Perry is accused of operating an unregistered commodity pool and failing to register as an “associated person” of said unauthorized commodity pool.
According to CFTC documents, the accused “fraudulently solicited at least $400,000 from at least 30 pool participants, who were defendant Perry’s friends, acquaintances and members of the public, for a pooled investment vehicle that is not an [eligible contract participant] in connection with the trading of retail foreign exchange (forex) contracts.”
Over a roughly two-year period, Perry is accused of depositing pool participant funds into both his own personal banking accounts and several Lucrative Pips banking accounts — the latter of which, the CFTC states, were all closed by March 2018.
Per a CFTC complaint, Perry told pool participants that his company conducted foreign exchange trading through a trading company that was never registered with the commission.
“At the direction of [the] defendants, pool participants entered into a ‘financial investment agreement’ with ‘Lucrative Pips Corp. Foreign Currency Investment Trading Group,’” the CFTC stated. “The financial investment agreement falsely stated that Lucrative Pips shall receive and invest monies given to it by pool participants and then ‘conduct all necessary and related financial business from trading the investment in a forex trading account under Lucrative Pips.’”
According to CFTC documents, Perry’s father served as the company’s chief financial officer while Perry’s girlfriend acted as the company’s corporate secretary. United States Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs representative Robert Page told The Daily Tribune News that he could not confirm whether or not the FBI is investigating any potential codefendants in the case, or if any other parties associated with Perry may be facing charges.
The commission says that Perry never told investors that his company would not return funds to pool participants once trading was complete, and that he fraudulently told participants their initial investments were “guaranteed” against trading losses.
“Contrary to Perry’s fraudulent texts to pool participants that [the] defendants were consistently making profitable forex trades” the CFTC said, “[the] defendants’ trading was actually unprofitable.”
Indeed, over August and September of 2017, Perry — in reply to a commission subpoena — wrote that his company lost more than $150,000. This, at the same time Perry was allegedly texting pool participants that their $20,000 upfront investments were netting returns of $35,000-$50,000 in just two months’ time.
Furthermore, when investors attempted to withdraw their funds, the commission said Perry’s company lied and said their funds were being “reviewed or held” by either the defendant’s bank or the Federal Reserve Bank. The commission has also accused Perry of sending investors fake withdrawal statements to mislead them about how much money the company actually held; in one instance, Perry is accused of asking a pool participant to give him an additional $27,000 to transfer funds through a “VIP account.”
Even after the CFTC filed a civil complaint, however, Perry is accused of continuing to engage in illegal financial activities. According to a press release from the United States Attorneys’ Office (USAO), Perry “made a series of fraudulent investment pitches to an undercover FBI agent, who was posing as a potential investor.”
The USAO claims Perry told the undercover agent that an upfront $10,000 investment would net a “$19,000 to $25,000 per month” profit, and that his company “minimized any risk by doing a ‘100 percent money-back guarantee.’”
Per a CFTC complaint, Perry’s statutory and regulatory violations include counts of fraud in connection with forex contracts, fraud by a commodity pool operator, failure to register as a commodity pool operator and failure to register as an associated person of a commodity pool operator.
Page said the FBI investigation of Lucrative Pips’ practices is still ongoing. Prosecuting the case against Perry are Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas J. Krepp and Cyber and Intellectual Property Crime Section Deputy Chief Nathan P. Kitchens.
“Instead of living off well-earned investments, Perry’s alleged victims now have to worry about their financial futures,” Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Atlanta Field Office Chris Hacker is quoted in a USAO press release. “Nothing can make victims of investment fraud whole again, but the FBI will continue to make it a priority to investigate and punish anyone who preys on investors for their own personal greed.”
According to Bartow County Sheriff’s Office records, Perry — listed as a resident of Rydal — was arrested on Dec. 25, 2017, on charges of “possession of a firearm or knife during the commission of or attempt to commit certain felonies” and “manufacturing, delivering, distributing, administering, selling or possessing with intent to distribute controlled substances.”
Records indicate he was released from custody the next day on a $10,000 bond. Bartow Superior Court documents do not indicate if Perry has been indicted by a grand jury on those charges.