United States Attorney’s Office
District of Minnesota
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Jeanne F. Cooney
Director of Community Relations
Man charged with orchestrating $190 million Ponzi scheme
MINNEAPOLIS – B. Todd Jones, United States Attorney for the District of Minnesota,
announced that a 37-year-old man was charged today in federal court with allegedly
orchestrating a $190 million Ponzi scheme. By way of an Information, Trevor Gilson Cook, of
Apple Valley, Minnesota, was specifically charged with one count of mail fraud and one count
of tax evasion.
The Information states that from January 2007 through July 2009, Cook, aided and abetted
by others, executed a scheme to defraud no fewer than 1,000 people out of at least $190 million
by purportedly selling investments in a foreign currency trading program. In reality, however, he
was diverting the money provided him for other purposes, including making payments to
previous investors; providing funds to Crown Forex, SA, in an effort to deceive Swiss banking
regulators; purchasing ownership interest in two trading firms; buying a real estate development
in Panama; paying personal expenses, including substantial gambling debts; and acquiring the
Van Dusen Mansion in Minneapolis.
To carry out his scheme, Cook allegedly caused false statements to be made to potential
investors, including promises that the investment program would generate annual returns of ten
to twelve percent, and that trading would present little or no risk to investors’ principal. He also
allegedly caused material information to be withheld from investors, such as the precarious
financial position of Crown Forex, SA, in Switzerland, an entity through which he traded. In
addition, he allegedly withheld the fact that trading at PFG in Chicago generated losses in excess
of $35 million between July 1, 2006, and August 31, 2009.
In furtherance of the scheme, Cook allegedly caused an account to be opened in the name of
Crown Forex LLC at Associated Bank, which he used for depositing investor funds subsequently
diverted for his personal use as well as the personal use of others. He also allegedly causedstatements to be sent to investors that misrepresented the status of their investments. In addition,
he allegedly caused due-diligence letters to be prepared that falsely represented that Oxford
Global Advisors had more than $4 billion in assets under management, and that all accounts
Specific to the charges, on January 29, 2009, Cook knowingly caused a $50,000 check to be
sent through the U.S. mail from Arizona to Minnesota for investment in his foreign currency
trading program. Then, on April 15, 2009, he filed a false and fraudulent U.S. Individual Income
Tax Return, Form 1040, for calendar year 2008, by failing to report taxable income of at least
$5,285,719, upon which there was tax due in the amount of at least $1,844,571.
If convicted, Cook faces a potential maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison on the
mail fraud charge and five years on the tax evasion charge. All sentences will be determined by a
federal district court judge.
This case is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the
Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Division, with the assistance and support of the
U.S. Securities Exchange Commission and the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission. It
is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank J. Magill.
This law enforcement action is in part sponsored by the interagency Financial Fraud
Enforcement Task Force. The task force was established to wage an aggressive, coordinated, and
proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. It includes representatives from a
broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local
law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil
enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive
branch and, with state and local partners, investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes,
ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat
discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial
A defendant, of course, is presumed innocent until he or she pleads guilty or is proven guilty at trial.