If the Colorado Division of Securities ever investigated itself, Commissioner Gerald Rome should have to explain why they aren’t carrying out a “pump and dump” scheme on Colorado fraud victims.
Rome polices Colorado’s financial world. He pumps up his successes, but now tries to hide information from the public, bullies’ people who ask questions, and by all appearances gets a tiny return for his main investors: the Colorado taxpayers.
Dolcefino Consulting has been investigating Rome and the Colorado securities agency for over a year. Since 2011, official records show a truly dismal collection rate from fraud cases. Only $3 million of the $122 million dollars that was supposed to go to fraud victims —orders bragged about in an endless parade of press releases noted carefully by the Colorado media.
Scammer Michael Brian Kass is the perfect example.
Kass and Bela Geczy’s front company, Dharma Investments, didn’t live up to its Boulder-friendly, good vibey namesake. The Ponzi scheme took nearly 300 investors for over $18 million before the Division of Securities filed suit against its owners. Kass only did two and a half years of a ten-year sentence and is now on parole marketing himself on the internet as a Life Coach.
So, what happened to the all that money Kass and Geczy had to pay back? Has Rome done a thing to help folks get their restitution?
A judge ordered $11.4 million to be paid in restitution in the criminal case against Kass and Geczy. In the civil case, the Denver District Court appointed a receiver, John C. Smiley, who billed nearly $500,000 on the case.
Kass and Geczy only returned a small fraction of the money spent chasing them. Just $68,000. Victims like Francoise Netter get an occasional six-dollar check.
“I probably will be dead before it all comes back,” said Netter. “I will be long dead before it all comes back. At six dollars and twenty-two cents every three months.
Our investigation found this pattern across nearly all of Rome’s highest-value judgements.
Taxpayers beware. If a NASDAQ company posted percentages like Rome’s it would make the Wall Street Journal’s front page. The Division of Securities soaks up $3.5 million a year and spends nearly $1 million a year prosecuting fraud cases. Add in a taxpayer-funded jail sentence and you have to wonder of a six-dollar victim check is worth the millions of public dollars the Division of Securities costs.
From the information we’ve been given, Rome’s office dumps the case once it gets a judgement. There is not a single e-mail we found showing Rome ever communicated with the Colorado Collections Services, county court collections investigators, or fraud victims to make sure they got their money back.
Dolcefino Consulting has tried to find out more about Rome’s operations, but the public agency has put up a brick wall of silence. As reported by the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition, Rome refused to give up public records unless Dolcefino told Rome who we work for – a clear violation of the Colorado Open Records Act, which President Wayne Dolcefino filed a lawsuit over.
In a post-Bernie Madoff world, citizens like to know someone is angling for the business world’s great white-collar sharks.
Catching them is just part of the job. Remembering the victims is the biggest part.