On September 16, 2021, the CFTC or Commodity Futures Trading Commission issued a press release stating that they charged Gregory Bryant aka “Gregory Surrey England” with fraud.
More specifically, that Greg was selling a trading signal service that focused on stocks, Forex, Futures, options, and bitcoin. The scam was of the vanilla-flavored variety. The victim would be lured into the marketing mumbo jumbo that Greg was an amazing trader that averaged 90% investment returns per year and that potential subscribers could simply “copy and paste” Greg’s trades for easy profits.
He claimed that you could expect to earn outsized investment returns with his trading signals. Of course, in order to receive these truly amazing trading signals, you had to pay roughly $12k per year.
Greg also made all sorts of wonderful claims on his website. He claimed that he had identified a “secret pattern” that revealed itself within the first 60 minutes of each trading day.
Greg cooed into the microphone that “when the pattern reveals, you simply place one or two round trip trades in 15 minutes, then take the rest of the day off. It’s that easy”
Greg also proclaimed that he was a certified MENSA genius with an IQ of 157. Where have we heard this before? (Raging Bull)
He also liked international travel, fine wine, a penchant for sports cars, living in multi-million dollar, ocean-front homes in Hawaii and Florida. And of course, unlimited shrimp cocktail.
And he claimed that you can be rich too, just like Greg…but you better hurry because Greg swore with bold proclamation that “I will only accept 50 new clients each year!” It was all so exclusive, in fact, Greg claimed you would be a really lucky person to be selected and mentored by such a master trader.
Greg England loved to talk about his supposed investing successes. He claimed results of between $500k to $2.5 million per year and warmly proffered, “How would you like to earn this from the comfort of your own home?”
The Investment Club Scheme
Greg also claimed that he managed an “investment club” where investors would pool their money together and Greg would “handle everything” through his legal entity named “Libor Capital LLC.”
That this club was for retirees looking to supplement their income, or looking for outsized investment gains without the risk.
Greg also claimed that investors could easily access their funds through a debit card that was company-issued to clients on their behalf.
Investors were promised all sorts of amazing returns. Some investors were promised 60% to 80% monthly returns, others were promised between 3% to 7% monthly returns. Of course, this was dependent upon the supposed risk appetite of the investor.
All of it looked so wonderful for investors. Until it wasn’t.
The TradingSchools.Org Complaints
In 2019, TradingSchools.Org began to receive a trickle of complaints. One person claimed that the “trading signals” were complete and total bullshit. Yet another claimed that Greg was omitting trades from the official track record. Another cried, “It’s all hypothetical performance. The guy doesn’t even trade.”
And then, an interesting email arrived — “I can’t get my money out of the investment club.” I then replied, have you filed a complaint? They replied, “No.” The reasoning was that this person was extremely embarrassed, and besides, they did not even know where to start the complaint process or whom to complain to.
After interviewing this person, I explained that they had likely fallen into a Ponzi scheme, and in my own sad life experience as a former Ponzi schemer, people like this “Greg” do not stop unless they are made to stop. Sometimes only a concrete box will afford the maleficent soul just the right amount of space and time to think about the harm they have caused others.
With a bit of courage, and knowing he would not get his money returned, but determined to not let this happen to others, the courageous victim took my advice and contacted the recommended authorities.
I also explained to the courageous victim that I had something special planned for Greg. Something very special.
Laying The Trap
In 2019, I reached out to Greg via email. In that email, I described myself as the typical newbie trader looking to earn some extra money for retirement. That my retirement account was not enough for retirement, that I had recently obtained a reverse mortgage for $250k and I needed someone to help me manage my funds.
I described myself as about 60 years of age, recently widowed, and “totally clueless” about investing.
Back and forth we conversed, and each time, I let him believe that I was just a vulnerable lamb. I played the part of someone emotionally fragile, needing a friend, and looking for someone I could trust to produce a stable monthly retirement income.
Greg was only too happy to help. For I was one of the lucky ones…he had agreed to manage my money. And I was so happy because he promised that my principal was “FDIC Insured” and “totally protected.” That every month I would receive a guaranteed income of between $6k to $14k — risk free.
I told Greg to send over the paperwork. He sent the following…GregBryant
What to do next? The phone call.
If you briefly looked over this document, it should be obvious that this whole thing smells of a Ponzi scheme.
But as a whistleblower, that has blown up dozens of these sorts of scams since 2014, I had to decide which was the best option to take in order to break this thing up.
Sometimes I just write an article and let the fish swim away with only a nasty article. Other times, I will take a more enthusiastic approach with the sole intent of complete and total destruction upon the target.
With this Greg character, I decided to take a more aggressive stance with the intention of building a case for the regulatory authorities. I had already received at least one complaint from a person that could not get their money out. And if there was one person that couldn’t get their money out, then there had to be many more. This dude needed to be stopped.
And so the next step was to get this douchebag on the telephone and record the entire conversation. But not just any conversation, the key is to lure him into the trap. Deeply into the trap. Get him talking, and keep him talking. Let him draw himself so far inside the web that escape would be impossible. Let him do all the hard work for me. Create such a compelling narrative that the regulators or law enforcement would be forced to take action.
The following is the full and complete telephone recording between Greg and myself. It’s a bit long, but it’s instructive on not what to say on the telephone. Especially if you want to stay out of prison. Note: keep in mind that my voice is modulated slightly and that I intentionally assumed the role of a vulnerable elderly gentleman. When my wife heard the recording, she giggled and replied, “That cant be you!” But it is, I can play quite a few characters.
Quite a long phone call. Just over one hour. If you spent any amount of time listening, then it should be readily apparent that this dude is quite the slimy character.
After I recorded the phone call, the next step was to try and root the guy out further. You see, many of these scams can appear to be happening in one state, but might actually be executed through various states in order to obfuscate the truth and confuse the legal authorities as to jurisdiction. This was my worry. That this guy was living in Utah, calling with a Florida number, with a bank account in Texas, and a physical “dropbox” business address in Hawaii.
Well, I don’t want to reveal all of my secrets on how I track down these sorts of characters. But I will reveal this much, this Greg character is certainly not the financial wizard that he claimed. In fact, he had already filed bankruptcy three times. Additionally, he already had served a 10-year prison sentence in Florida for attempted murder and had a history of violence spanning many years.
Like I said, not a fun character to try and hunt down. But I finally did.
The FBI and the CFTC
After obtaining all of the basic pieces of the puzzle and arranging everything into something coherent and workable for the legal authorities, I next needed to decide whether this would be something for the State securities regulator or the Federal securities regulators (SEC or CFTC). Additionally, would this be something the FTC might also take an interest in?
After thinking about it…I decided to first go directly to the FBI and then try and connect the investigation with the CFTC.
From experience, if I can get the FBI and CFTC conversing on an investigation, then it’s highly likely that someone up the food chain will push the ball forward. But to be quite honest, I never really know what they are going to latch onto. In some instances, I have dropped some really outrageous investment scams into their laps and it disappears into a dark hole of mystery, never to been seen or heard from again.
However, with this Greg character, I got a bit of a tipoff from the FBI…someone told me to “leave this guy alone.” In other words, don’t write an article because we are looking into this, and an article will spook him. Again, I don’t want to say too much, but you get the picture.
Regardless, after I drop the file off to the real heroes, I basically forget about it and just hope for the best.
The bust, the subpeonas, the US Attorney.
A little over a year passed by and I started to feel a bit sad and depressed about no movement on the situation. I thought to myself, “I should just publish an article and blow this guy up in the public realm.” So I sent out a feeler message to a regulator and was given a one-word message…”Interesting.”
That was all I needed to hear. It feels good knowing that the sharks were still circling, that they smelled the blood, and a vicious kill could be imminent. So I waited.
A few months passed. And then boom. The subpoenas started flying and I knew this guy would soon be toast. It’s a great feeling when you “know” it’s coming.
On September 15, 2021, I got up in the morning and poured a tall cup of coffee. I sat down at my computer and thought to myself, “Who is getting fucked today?”
I next opened my email, hoping for something nice to read. Usually, it’s nothing nice. I had already received one cease and desist letter from a random scumbag over an article and thought to myself, “this is starting off bad.” And then boom, I get an email from some random email address I have never seen, included was a file attachment, I gingerly peaked at the .pdf hoping for some good news…and then I see the header…United States District Court For The State of Hawaii. I look an inch further down, and it says Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Plaintiff v. Gregory Demetrius Bryant, Defendant.
Got him. What a feeling.
The following is the actual complaint filed against Greg…enfbryantcomplaint091521
A 32-page complaint. Nice. The larger the complaint, the more resources, and facts that were gathered. The CFTC did the hard work and really investigated him.
Next, I checked the press release from the CFTC to see if there were any “thank you” messages to the FBI. If I see a “thank you” that references the FBI, then I know there is still the possibility that criminal charges could also be pending. And then I see the payday statement…
The CFTC acknowledges and thanks the National Futures Association, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Hawaii for their assistance.-CFTC
Boom. I see that the FBI and US Attorney is referenced (double the pleasure), and this means only one thing…a criminal indictment will soon follow. This guy is going to prison.
Wrapping things up
In the past few years, I have been involved in dozens of these investment scams — as a whistleblower. I have literally lost count.
These little Ponzi schemes, like Greg’s, are as common as candy on Halloween. But you hardly ever hear about them, they are simply too small, and too numerous for the authorities to catch all of them. And financial writers typically never write about these little scams because there is little to no commercial value in doing so.
The only time you actually hear about these Ponzi schemes is when they grow to be huge and then explode like a giant pimple.
Some readers might ask, “Why didn’t you write about this guy back in 2019, you could have saved more victims?” The answer is because, in many instances, I don’t write about an active fraud because I don’t want the subject to know they are likely being investigated by the authorities.
If I write an article exposing a fraud, then they usually will quickly disappear, to only reappear later using different a different name and website. Its turns into an exhausting game of whack-a-mole. And once you expose them once, they quickly learn and adapt for the next scam.
Thanks for reading. As always, I love to read your comments, questions, and opinions below.