Scammer allegedly solicited investments in fake Styrofoam recycling company
The Florida Office of Financial Regulation (OFR) today announced that Donald Edward Smith pled guilty on March 23, 2018, to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of tax fraud. Smith allegedly bilked more than $3.6 million from hundreds of investors through several scams, including one involving the sale of stock in a company he promoted through an online radio show. The company, Phoenix Synergies, was owned by Smith, and claimed to be in the business of recycling and repurposing Styrofoam.
OFR Commissioner Drew J. Breakspear said, “We’re committed to fighting fraud and ensuring that Floridians are protected from these scams. Unfortunately, scams can happen to anyone, anywhere. I encourage Floridians to learn how to spot these fraudsters, and file a complaint with our agency if something doesn’t seem right.”
Smith agreed to pay $3.5 million in restitution and surrender all previously seized assets.
During his regular appearances as an online guest of “Phoenix Rising Radio,” Smith advertised the capabilities of a patented Styrofoam recycling machine, which he claimed would alleviate landfills of voluminous amounts of Styrofoam. The investigation, however, found no evidence to prove the existence of such a machine, and that Smith did not use investors’ money for his business, as represented.
The OFR served as a co-investigative agency in this case, and the OFR appreciates the assistance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service.
If you feel you have been a victim of financial fraud, please file a complaint with the Office of Financial Regulation at flofr.com, or by calling (850) 487-9687.