MIAMI – FBI agents are searching for John Black, also known as John Barnes. He is wanted on charges related to a Ponzi scheme involving three companies.
Agents believe the scheme was used to defraud about 90 investors from the U.S., Italy, Germany, England and Canada of at least $14.5 million. Investigators said the excuses for delays to pay investors included the coronavirus pandemic and storms in the Bahamas.
Black and his co-conspirators, Christopher Mancuso and Joseph Tufo, were ignoring calls and emails from investors, according to California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. U.S. District Judge Troy L. Nunley froze their assets on July 2.
“If it seems too good to be true, then it probably isn’t',” Becerra said. “Some people were told that their $25,000 investment could be tripled in four months. One person was promised that a $100,000 investment with these three would be quadrupled in just three months.”
Agents arrested Mancuso and Tufo, on Thursday in Orange and Contra Costa counties. Becerra said they froze their assets including real estate and cyber currency. Black told a Sacramento Bee reporter that he is innocent. The group allegedly used these companies: Financial Tree Trust, Financial Solutions Group Trust, and New Money Advisors, LLC.
The charges against Black include fraudulent securities scheme, grand theft, fraud in the offer or sale of a security,