SEC accuses Sky Group of $ 66 million fraud


The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has accused a Miami-based payday loan company and its CEO of defrauding its investors.

The SEC on Monday, September 27, announced charges against Sky Group USA LLC and Efrain Betancourt, Jr., its chief executive, for fraudulently raising at least $ 66 million by selling promissory notes to more than 500 retail investors, including many were part of the Venezuelan-American community in South Florida.

In a complaint filed with the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, the commission says Sky and Betancourt lied to investors by claiming that investors’ money would only be used to make payday loans and cover the cost of these loans.

Read more: FTC Launches Industry Payday Lender, Releases Debtors

“In reality, Betancourt has embezzled at least $ 2.9 million for personal gain – including for her lavish wedding in a castle on the French Riviera, her vacation to Disney resorts and the Caribbean, the costs associated with buying a luxury condominium in Miami and self-service. Piper plane, ”the SEC said in its press release.

The SEC claims Betancourt has also transferred at least $ 3.6 million to friends and relatives, including his ex-wife Angela Betancourt, who is named as a defendant. Sky Group and Betancourt are also said to have used at least $ 19.2 million in investor cash to make “Ponzi-type payments” to other investors.

Finally, the SEC accuses Sky and Betancourt of promising investors annual returns of up to 120%, when the company failed to generate enough money to cover principal and interest owed to investors.

Read more: CFPB Payday Loan Rules Officially Released

“As alleged in our complaint, Sky Group and Betancourt have attracted unsuspecting investors, including many members of the Venezuelan community in South Florida, with false claims and promises of high return, low risk investments.” said Eric I. Bustillo, director of the SEC’s Miami regional office. “We continue to caution investors to be wary of any investment that promises returns that are too good to be true.”



On: Eighty percent of consumers want to use non-traditional payment options like self-service, but only 35 percent were able to use them for their most recent purchases. Today’s Self-Service Shopping Journey, a PYMNTS and Toshiba Collaboration, analyzes more than 2,500 responses to find out how merchants can address availability and perception issues to meet demand for self-service kiosks.


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