ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — A financial adviser and former radio host accused of running a Ponzi scheme has discovered there is no magic way to escape the charges.
An FBI affidavit made public this week says agents searching Dawn J. Bennett’s home recovered instructions for placing three Securities and Exchange Commission attorneys under a “Beef Tongue Shut Up Hoodoo Spell.”
Agents found written instructions for casting spells — and also shelves filled with hundreds of pairs of shoes.
According to the affidavit, investigators found instructions for slitting open an animal tongue and incantations including “I command you to hold your tongue.”
Agents also found two freezers in Bennett’s residence in Chevy Chase, Maryland, inside of which were dozens of sealed Mason jars containing information about the SEC attorneys with their initials written on the jars.
Bennett, 55, has been charged with wire fraud, bank fraud and false statements in relation to loan and credit applications.
Her attorney didn’t immediately return a phone call seeking comment.
The SEC brought the case to the FBI’s attention after it was contacted by a representative from Old Line Bank in Waldorf, Maryland, regarding one of the bank’s clients, an 80-year-old woman from Maryland who went to her local branch to conduct a wire transfer for a proposed investment and became concerned.
The investigation found activity consistent with a Ponzi scheme, which lures new investors by promising high rates of return with little risk, then uses their money to pay previous investors.
Bennett, who is owner and operator of DJB Holding, LLC, solicited people to invest money in her internet clothing business, the complaint said. She allegedly offered a 15 percent annual interest rate.
The complaint alleges she used the money on a variety of luxuries, including jewelry, high-end clothing, mystics and a $500,000 annual lease for a luxury suite at AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys football team.
The SEC contends Bennett fraudulently raised about $20 million between December 2014 and July 2017. The complaint alleges she targeted elderly and “financially unsophisticated” investors.
Bennett, whose radio show “Financial Myth Busting with Dawn Bennett” was nationally syndicated, was arrested last week in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She has been released on $5 million bond.
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