Heartland Bank & Trust Co. Agrees to $9 Million Settlement For Allegedly Aiding and Abetting a Ponzi Scheme

Posted on March 24th, 2023 at 2:11 PM
Heartland Bank & Trust Co. Agrees to $9 Million Settlement For Allegedly Aiding and Abetting  a Ponzi Scheme

From the desk of Jim Eccleston at Eccleston Law 

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has agreed to a $9 million settlement with Heartland Bank & Trust Co. over the bank’s alleged role in aiding and abetting a $75 million Ponzi scheme.

The $9 million settlement is expected to resolve claims against the Illinois community bank as well as claims filed separately by investors who were allegedly defrauded by the company, Todays Growth Consultant, which did business as The Income Store. The settlement agreement will classify the SEC’s enforcement suit as the principal action, which will allow Todays Growth investors to pursue remedies. The settlement likely will prompt a court order permitting investors to recover their losses “through the receivership distribution process”, according to the SEC.

The SEC initially filed suit against Todays Growth in December 2019 alleging that it had collected $75 million from at least 500 investors by falsely promising extraordinary returns. According to the SEC, investors in Todays Growth finalized, "consulting performance agreements, " with the Illinois bank that guaranteed extraordinary returns, which purportedly would be generated by websites that the bank would acquire or build for investors. The SEC filed suit just as the company was, “crumbling under its debt obligations, " and U.S. District Judge Charles Norgle Sr. froze Todays Growth’s assets and appointed a receiver. The receiver filed suit against Heartland Bank in December 2020, noting that Todays Growth had been a Heartland customer during the entire duration of the Ponzi scheme.

Eccleston Law LLC represents financial advisors and investors nationwide in securities, employment, transition, regulatory and disciplinary matters.

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