Naples man accused of defrauding church members in $35M Ponzi scheme

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A Naples man is suspected of running a $35 million Ponzi scheme, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Brent Seaman is accused of fraudulently raising approximately $35 million from at least 60 investors through an unregistered securities offering, the SEC said in a news release.

Many of the investors were elderly, retired and connected to a Naples church where Seaman was an active member.

The complaint against Seaman alleges that from approximately June 2019 until Sept. 2022 investors were told he would use their money to invest in tech companies and to trade currencies and commodities.

In return, Seaman is accused of promising “guaranteed” annual returns between 18 and 48% and described the investments as “safe,” the press release states.

The SEC alleges Seaman touted his success investing in currencies to attract more investors when, in reality, he was losing millions of dollars and “his currency trading was always unprofitable.”

He is also accused of misusing the money by taking lavish trips on private planes and luxury automobiles.

“All fraud defendants have consented to a bifurcated settlement, without admitting or denying the Commission’s allegations and subject to court approval,” according to the press release.

Seaman’s wife, Jana Seaman, was also named as a relief defendant along with Valo Holdings Group, LLC and Surge Capital Ventures LLC. Both allegedly received millions in investor proceeds. Jana is required to pay more than $750,000 in disgorgement and interest.

The SEC encourages investors to check the backgrounds of people selling investments by using the SEC’s Investor.gov to identify quickly whether they are registered professionals and confirm their identity.

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