One of the many pathetic things about a recent Michigan investment scheme that invoke the names of billionaires like Paul Allen and Ted Turner is that it only brought in $560,000.
Sovereign International Group, apparently based in Phoenix, reportedly solicited both capital and management fees from investors around the world promising to buy, among other things, precious metals, fine art, and a baseball team.
Paul Allen of Microsoft and the media magnate Ted Turner were invoked as seed investors in at least the baseball side of the story.
When the SEC investigated, they discovered that none of the funds had actually been invested. The principals spent all of it on office fees, commissions, and especially their own salaries.
What's bold about this scheme is that it started up in late 2008, right when Bernie Madoff's activities were coming to light, and dragged on through 2010.
If there are many more operations like this out there, it's no wonder the SEC needs all its people paying attention to their jobs.