July 23, 2021 #1 Local News, Forum, Information and Event Source for Venice Beach, California.

Marina del Rey Accountant Pleads Guilty to Federal Ponzi Scheme Charges

Steven F. Brown faces up to 20 years in federal prison

By Staff Writer

A Marina del Rey accountant faces up to 20 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to running a multimillion-dollar Ponzi scheme.

On September 3, the Justice Department announced an accountant has agreed to plead guilty to a federal charge that he ran a $3.3 million Ponzi scheme that falsely promised generous returns for foreign exchange currency investors, and he facilitated the scheme in part with money he embezzled from his former employer.

Steven F. Brown, 52, of Marina del Rey, agreed to plead guilty to a one-count criminal information charging him with wire fraud. The criminal information and a related plea agreement were filed on August 28in United States District Court in downtown Los Angeles, where Brown is scheduled to make his initial court appearance on September 15.

According to his plea agreement, Brown controlled and operated Alpha Trade Analytics, Inc., a financial consulting and investment company he largely ran out of his home. Neither Brown nor Alpha Trade was a registered broker or dealer in securities. Brown also served as the accountant for a non-profit organization providing dance and theater arts education to children and young adults in Los Angeles, and had access to its bank accounts.

From April 2014 to May 2018, Brown solicited investments in Alpha Trade, including from people he encountered through his position with his employer, and through his relationship with its executives and employees, which afforded him access to high-net-worth individuals.

To encourage those individuals to invest with Alpha Trade, Brown falsely promised that their investments would only be used for foreign exchange (Forex) currency trading and that they would receive guaranteed monthly payouts of around 10%. He also falsely represented that he had extensive experience in Forex investing, regularly made profitable trades, and achieved substantial and growing rates of return that exceeded the industry average.

Contrary to his representations to investors, Brown only used a small portion of the total amount invested in Alpha Trade for Forex trading, mostly in 2015. Instead, he routinely used investor funds for other purposes, including his rent, car payments, restaurant and retail expenses, and lulling payments to other investors, the plea agreement states.

In order to induce investors to maintain or supplement their investments with Alpha Trade and to conceal his scheme, Brown periodically provided investors with account statements that reflected fabricated investment returns that often showed steady, significant gains.

Brown admitted he made some of the promised recurring payouts and provided demanded refunds, not based on any Forex investment returns, but instead from money stolen from new investors and through funds he embezzled from the dance academy through unauthorized wire transfers, credit card advances, and cash withdrawals he was able to make by virtue of his position as the dance academy’s accountant.

In total, Brown caused losses of approximately $3,313,346 to more than 10 victims, including nearly $700,000 in losses to his former employer based on the money he embezzled from it, according to the plea agreement.

When Brown enters his guilty plea, he will face a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.

Related Posts

63-Year-Old Man Killed in Westchester Tent Fire

July 22, 2021

July 22, 2021

LAFD investigating Wednesday night incident  By Sam Catanzaro A 63-year-old man died in a tent following a fire in Westchester...

Bonin’s Encampment to Home Moves 131 Homeless Into Housing: YO! Venice Show – July 19, 2021

July 19, 2021

July 19, 2021

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Bonin’s Encampment to Home Moves 131 Homeless Into Housing * LAFD...

Unidentified Skeletal Remains Found in Ballona Wetlands Amid Search for Missing Person

July 19, 2021

July 19, 2021

Authorities make discovery amid search for Kolby Story this past Friday  By Sam Catanzarto Unidentified skeletal remains were found Friday...

Beach Closures Lifted After Sunday Discharge of 17 Million Gallons of Raw Sewage From Hyperion Plant

July 15, 2021

July 15, 2021

17 million gallons of raw sewage discharged from Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant Sunday Night By Sam Catanzaro Beach closures have...

Petition for Recall of Councilmember Bonin Approved for Circulation

July 13, 2021

July 13, 2021

Signature gathering phase now set to begin after Tuesday approval by City Clerk  By Sam Catanzaro The Los Angeles City...

Deadline Extended For Unhoused To Move Belongings Off Boardwalk: YO! Venice Show – July 12, 2021

July 12, 2021

July 12, 2021

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Deadline Extended For Unhoused To Move Belongings Off Boardwalk * Pedestrian...

Hyperion Spill Discharges 17 Million Gallons of Raw Sewage Into Santa Monica Bay

July 12, 2021

July 12, 2021

Sunday night spillage occurs 1-mile offshore from Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant By Sam Catanzaro 17 million gallons of raw sewage...

IPO Cosmetics Launches The World’s First 4Step Facial Kit

July 10, 2021

July 10, 2021

It’s Perfect On Introduces a New, Convenient, Portable and Eco-Friendly Skincare Option By Staff Writer What if you could get...

Marina Drive-In Movie Summer Series Underway

July 9, 2021

July 9, 2021

Gather with your family and friends to watch movies by the sea in Marina del Rey. Marina Drive-In Movie Nights,...

Local Winemakers Are Suing LA County Over New Restrictions on Vineyards

July 8, 2021

July 8, 2021

Malibu Coast Vintners and Grape Growers Alliance, along with local winemaker John Gooden have filed a lawsuit against the LA...

Bill Chait Restaurant Planned for Abbot Kinney

July 8, 2021

July 8, 2021

By Toi Creel Bill Chait, the head of Tartine Bakery, is planning a restaurant for Abbot Kinney Boulevard.  Recently, well-admired...

Venice Car-to-Car Shooting Leaves 18-Year-Old Dead

July 6, 2021

July 6, 2021

LAPD investigating Monday incident By Sam Catanzaro Police are searching for a driver wanted in connection to a car-to-car shooting...

Fugitive Offender Arrested for Series of Sex Crimes Around Venice Canals

July 6, 2021

July 6, 2021

46-year-old El Monte man arrested on suspicion of assault with intent to commit rape By Sam Catanzaro Police have arrested...