A Killdeer man has been ordered by the North Dakota Securities Department to stop selling unregistered investment contracts in an alleged Ponzi scheme involving Texas-based livestock dealer Agridime LLC. This comes after the department received reports that the man, Taylor Orris Bang, was promising guaranteed annual returns of 15 to 32 percent to investors who put money into Agridime.
According to investigative records, Bang told investors that the contracts represented ownership of cattle and that their funds would be used to acquire, feed, and raise the animals on Agridime’s network of ranches. However, a complaint filed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) alleges that Agridime has raised over $191 million from more than 2,100 investors in 15 states, including North Dakota, and that the defendants behind the company have been using the funds for their own personal gain.
The SEC complaint states that the defendants have been diverting millions of dollars of investor funds to make Ponzi payments and undisclosed sales commissions to themselves and others. It is alleged that Taylor Bang earned over $6 million in commissions from 2021 through 2023, which is more than half of all commissions paid by Agridime to unregistered agents selling the company’s investment contracts.
As a result, the North Dakota Securities Department has ordered Bang to repay investors the full amount of their investments, plus interest, for all transactions he solicited and was paid a commission for. This is a significant warning to all investors to be cautious and do thorough research before investing their money in any scheme, especially those promising high returns.
In addition to the legal actions being taken against Agridime and its agents, the North Dakota Agriculture Department has also issued a warning to livestock producers and sellers to be on the lookout for any suspicious activity involving the company. The department advises anyone who has been approached by Agridime or its agents to contact them immediately.
This is not the first time that the SEC has taken action against a Ponzi scheme involving livestock. In 2023, a Riverside County man admitted guilt in a $24 million Ponzi scheme targeting cattle investors. And in 2023, the SEC issued a warning about a scam using the name of Club Regent, a popular livestock auction house.
The rise of cryptocurrency has also opened the door to new types of investment scams. The IRS Criminal Investigation Department has issued an alert warning people to beware of cryptocurrency scams on the internet. And just last year, it was reported that unsuspecting investors lost over $300 million to crypto phishing scams.
It’s not just investors who need to be cautious. Homeowners should also be on the lookout for scammers taking out loans in their name without their knowledge. In a recent case in West Edmonton, a house fire was connected to an extortion spree where scammers took out a $45,000 loan using the homeowner’s information.
In conclusion, it is crucial for individuals to be vigilant and do thorough research before investing their hard-earned money. Schemes promising high returns, like the one involving Agridime, are often too good to be true and can result in significant financial losses for unsuspecting investors. Always verify the legitimacy of an investment opportunity and never hesitate to reach out to authorities if you suspect any fraudulent activity.