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Secretary of State

SOS > Media Center >  Press Releases > Indiana Securities Division uncovers alleged Ponzi scheme spanning three states Indiana Securities Division uncovers alleged Ponzi scheme spanning three states

For Immediate Release
Oct. 28, 2010

Indiana Securities Division obtains asset freezes against
two men accused of bilking millions from Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky investors

INDIANAPOLIS – A Franklin County judge this week ordered asset freezes of two men after a civil complaint filed by the Indiana Securities Division alleged the duo were running a Ponzi scheme across three states.

In his preliminary injunction order, Judge Clay Kellerman ordered Jerry Smith, a Brookville resident, and Jasen Snelling, an Ohio native, to stop investing, selling, redeeming, transferring or otherwise disposing of any financial assets. Additionally, the injunction ordered both men to cease selling or attempting to sell any ownership interest through their companies – CityFund Advisory, LLC and Dunhill Investment Advisors, LTD.

According to the civil complaint filed last week by the division, a unit of the Indiana Secretary of State’s office, Smith and Snelling are accused of promising high rates of return at little risk to investors. The scheme allegedly paid earlier investors with new investors’ funds, not from profits of the companies – better known as a Ponzi scheme. The team worked together under the company names of CityFund Advisory and Dunhill Investments Advisors. The civil complaint also alleged that Smith and Snelling, through their companies, bilked over 40 victims out of more than $4 million dollars in Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky since 2007.

“Freezing an individual’s assets is one of the strongest tools the Securities Division can use to stop an alleged fraudster’s deceptive dealings immediately,” Secretary Rokita said. “This case is just one of many that demonstrate the division’s continuing efforts in protecting investors and makes clear that violators will be held accountable for their fraudulent actions.”
According to the court filings, even though they knew most of their victims personally, Smith and Snelling led their clients to believe they were skilled day trading experts. Additionally, the evidence shows the clients believed the team was able to guarantee them high rates of return on their initial investments. The civil complaint alleges Smith and Snelling spent millions of investor dollars on credit card bills, mortgages, private school tuition payments, vacations, vehicles, orthodontia and plastic surgery.
Secretary Rokita noted this case is a good example of making sure those looking to invest do their homework before entering into any deal.

“Before making an investment, Hoosiers should learn as much as possible about the person offering the investment,” Secretary Rokita said. “Hoosiers should research the person’s work history, licensing status and any disciplinary actions.”

He continued to say, individuals can visit http://www.indianainvestmentwatch.com/ for more information on how to avoid becoming a victim of investment fraud.

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Media contact: Todd W. Darroca, tdarroca@sos.in.gov, 317-234-2962