BY MALIA ZIMMERMAN – HONOLULU – Curtis Wayne Ross promised the manager of Little Angels he’d invest the charity’s $15 million, generating a 50 percent to 70 percent return within 120 days through a “platform trading program.”
Claiming he was an “ambassador” with the United Nations, and the owner of GLC Funding Group, Ross said the investment would be “secure”, “transparent” and a “phenomenal” opportunity for the charity, which brings sick kids from Africa to the United States for medical treatment.
Ross met with two people he thought were the heads of the charity in South Carolina on Saint Patrick’s Day in 2011, believing he’d secured the deal.
What the Honolulu resident didn’t know – he was the target of an FBI sting and one of the people he was meeting with was an undercover FBI agent.
On Oct. 23, 2014, a Federal Grand Jury delivered a superseding indictment against Ross. The indictment documented the FBI sting and three victims allegedly he defrauded out of $186,000 before the FBI launched its investigation.
The superseding indictment followed an Aug. 1, 2014 indictment against Ross.
The indictments allege that beginning in Sept. 2010, Ross tricked his victims into investing in international gold and diamond transactions, promising them short term, high yielding returns.
To boost his own credentials, Ross falsely claimed he was a wealthy investor who operated three companies, GLG Funding Group, Green Light Funding Group, and MNR Trading. He also said he was an United Nations ambassador with special protections under the United States tax amnesty laws that permitted him to move money into international financial transactions.
None of his clients’ money was ever invested – instead Ross spent the money on himself to pay personal expenses, the indictment said.
Ross found his victims at seminars in California and Hawaii, the indictments said.
In Sept. 2010, Ross attended a self-help seminar in California, telling fellow attendees he made $9 million from his investments the year prior through “platform trading.” He convinced one attendee, “T.V.”, that he could make 5 to 10 percent returns with “zero” risk. On Oct. 29, 2010, T.V. gave Ross a $100,000 investment. Ross returned $20,000, telling T.V. it was part of the promised profit, but it was actually part of the principal T.V. originally gave Ross.
Ross convinced another seminar attendee, “M.S.”, to give him $6,000, promising to double the investment within the week through access to gold below market value. However, Ross never doubled the investment or returned the original investment.
At a second seminar that same month, this one in Honolulu, Ross found his third victim, “R.D.” He promised R.D. if he invested $25,000 with Ross, he’d get a $100,000 return.
By November 2010, R.D. gave Ross $80,000 toward a gold buying scheme that Ross claimed had ties to Africa and Dubai. R.D. never received either his original investment or any additional funds back from Ross.
The FBI targeted Ross after “W.B.”, an acquaintance of T.V., told the FBI about Ross’ scams in Feb. 2011.
Ross has not been arrested, according to FBI Special Agent Tom Simon, who handled the case.
Ross will be summoned to appear in federal court to answer the charges, but will most likely appear at his arraignment via telephone from Atlanta, where he now lives, Simon said.
Ross’ trial date is currently set for April 28, 2015.
“The Honolulu FBI has seen an increase in scams purporting to be Platform Trading Programs or Private Placement Platforms,” Simon said. “It’s important for the public to know that these are fake investments that don’t really exist. You might as well invest your money in unicorns.”