The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has taken action to prevent an ongoing cattle Ponzi scheme, which is alleged to have defrauded investors of $191 million. A temporary restraining order has been obtained against Texas company Agridime and its owners, Josh Link and Jed Wood.
According to the SEC, Agridime and its owners diverted millions of dollars from investor funds to make Ponzi payments and undisclosed sales commissions for themselves and others. The defendants reportedly lured investors with promises of easy profits from raising cattle, claiming annual returns between 15% and 32%.
Agridime managed to raise at least $191 million from over 2,100 investors across 15 states with its offerings related to cattle purchase and sale investments. However, since December 2022, the company is said to have used $58 million from new investor funds to make Ponzi payments to previous investors. Additionally, over $11 million went towards paying sales commissions to Wood, Link, Link’s wife, and other Agridime sales representatives.
Agridime portrays itself as specializing in meat sales, distribution, and animal supply chain management, as per the SEC.
The SEC has filed a complaint charging the defendants with violating antifraud and registration provisions of federal securities laws. In response, the SEC is seeking preliminary and permanent injunctions, civil penalties, and officer and director bars against Link and Wood. A hearing on the SEC’s motion for a preliminary injunction is scheduled for December 20.