SALT LAKE CITY -- The Securities and Exchange Commission has filed a court order to freeze the assets of two loan companies and their owner, accused of masterminding a $47 million Ponzi scheme.
John Scott Clark, of Hyde Park, is accused by the SEC of raising more than $47 million between March 2006 and September 2010 from 120 investors in a fraud and Ponzi scheme through his two businesses, Impact Cash LLC and Impact Payment Systems LLC.
The SEC said Monday that Clark, 58, promised investors returns of up to 80 percent annually and told them their money would be kept in separate bank accounts and used to fund payday loans.
Instead, Clark dumped the investments into a single account and used them to make unauthorized investments, pay fictitious profits to earlier investors and finance his own lavish lifestyle, including buying several expensive cars, the SEC said in a statement.
"Clark recruited new investors through referrals from earlier investors who thought the Ponzi payments they received were actual returns on their investments and sought to share the lucrative opportunity with family and business associates," said Ken Israel, director of the SEC's Salt Lake City office.
Clark's lawyer, Robert Wing, did not immediately return a telephone message Monday.
The SEC said Clark also used the money to buy expensive snowmobiles, a home theater, bronze statues and other art.
The SEC's complaint accuses Impact and Clark of fraudulently selling unregistered securities and altering statements from Impact's accounting department to create artificially high return rates of up to 200 percent.
A motion hearing is set for Friday in Salt Lake City federal court.