Skip to main content

Charges: Shakopee couple used $18M Ponzi scheme to fund horse racing stable, other businesses

The couple owns Empire Racing Stables, which is one of the leading horse owners at Canterbury Park.

A couple from Shakopee is accused of running a nearly $18 million Ponzi scheme to fund their horse racing stable and their other businesses. 

The federal Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a complaint in federal court last week against Jason Bullard, 57, and Angela Romero-Bullard, 49, the owners of Empire Racing Stables, accusing the couple of raising about $17.6 million from as many as 200 investors between 2007 to August 2021.

The SEC obtained a temporary restraining order and an asset freeze to stop the alleged Ponzi scheme, a news release says

According to the complaint, the Bullards recruited friends and family, many of whom are elderly retirees, to invest in Bullard Enterprises. They said they'd invest their money in "investment funds" to trade foreign currency.

However, the SEC alleges Bullard Enterprises stopped trading foreign money in 2015 and the Bullards used money from new investors to pay "returns" to their existing investors, the complaint says. They would send their investors "falsified" statements that showed their accounts increased in value when in reality their money wasn't invested or they had suffered investment losses.

The complaint says the Bullards used $1.9 million in investor funds to pay other investors in Ponzi-style payments and for their personal uses, including funding their other businesses — the Empire Racing Stables, a limousine service called Nite Train Transportation, and a Snap Fitness gym franchise — as well as make car payments, pay personal credit cards, life insurance premiums and other expenses. 

Canterbury Park confirmed to FOX 9 the Bullards are one of the leading horse owners at the Shakopee racetrack, with purse earnings of more than $360,000.

The charges also say Bullard used a "bulk" of the $434,400 they'd received in June and July 2020 through the federal Paycheck Protection Program to "temporarily fund investor payments until new investor monies were received or to fund the Bullards' horse racing efforts."

"Many of the investor-victims in this case were friends and family of Bullard and Romero-Bullard who trusted their promises about investment strategy and expected returns," Nekia Hackworth Jones, director of the SEC's Atlanta regional office, said in a statement. "... Bullard and Romero-Bullard breached that trust for years. Instead of delivering on their promises, these individuals used false statements and fraudulent documents to convince investors to pour millions of dollars into bank accounts used almost exclusively for Ponzi-style payments and for their personal benefit."

The Bullards are charged with violating the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws. The SEC is seeking temporary relief, preliminary and permanent injunctions, disgorgement, prejudgment interest, civil penalties and an asset freeze. 

Next Up

cat

Minneapolis will waive pet adoption fees on Friday

Pet licensing fees still apply to adoptions at the event.

received_5642181912525380

Family who endured car theft ordeal surprised with trip to Universal Orlando

A father rescued his four children after a thief jumped in his car while he was getting something from his trunk.

UgstadRoadJunction

Charges: Teen speeding before crash that killed mother, injured her son

The teenager was driving at speeds between 72-89 mph at the time of the crash.

Northland Vapor in Moorhead, Minn.

Northland Vapor calls St. Paul regulators 'overzealous' in lawsuit over THC sales

The small Minnesota business said the lawsuit was "misleading" and "shameful."

image

Excelsior chocolate shop ransacked by thieves to reopen

Truffle Hill will reopen to the public on Friday.

https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/OPA/newsreleases/2022/11/SOLWHDPSSI%20FILINGS.pdf

Company agrees to changes after child workers found in MN meat plants

An investigation found children ages 13-17 working hazardous jobs at the plants.

soda-g7792ca8e9_1280

Drinks can company to lay off almost 100 workers, close St. Paul plant

State authorities were informed of the impending closure.

MinceyMug

Suspect in Minneapolis bar killing charged with weapons crime

The suspect has not been charged with murder in the case as of Wednesday.

snow, blowing snow

A monster storm is coming next week: What will happen?

What we know with high confidence at this point is that there will be a monster storm in the central U.S. by the early and middle part of next week.

police lights

Boy safe after kidnapping by non-custodial parent in Mankato

The search prompted the temporary shutdown of I-35 Tuesday night.

Related

Canterbury, Shakopee tribe sign 75M gambling deal

The Star Tribune reports the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community and the Canterbury Park horse-racing track have reached a 10-year agreement. The deal calls for the tribe, which operates the nearby Mystic Lake Casino, to contribute tens of millions of dollars to Canterbury purses. In exchange, owners of the racetrack in Shakopee agree to end their pursuit to add slot machines and help block efforts to expand gambling in the Twin Cities metro area.

jared fiege

Charges: Duluth man's scheme netted him thousands in COVID relief funds

He is accused of stealing people's identities to submit fake Unemployment Insurance applications.

Curt Sampson

Curtis Sampson, who brought horse racing back to MN, dies at 87

He died peacefully at his home in Hector, Minnesota.

Horse track sets 2012 average attendance record

The average attendance for the 62-day live racing season at the Shakopee racetrack was 6,595 -- a new record at Canterbury Park, the Shakopee Patch writes. That's up 7.3 percent compared to last summer -- which was 6 days shorter because of the state government shutdown. The amount of money wagered was also up 25 percent this year.

Bryan Ellinger

Charges: Trail of Terror supervisor sexually assaulted 3 teenage employees

Bryan Ellinger was arrested in January accused of raping a 15-year-old employee. Two more women have come forward accusing him of sexually assaulted them as teens.

fentanyl pill

Woman charged with murder in Golden Valley man's overdose death

The woman is accused of selling a lethal dose of fentanyl to the victim, who died last December.

Paul Allen became the first person to announce a horse race on helium

Last Saturday was extreme day at Canterbury Park in Shakopee. The horse racing track brought out ostriches and camels for a couple of races, as they have done annually for years now. In the final race, track announcer Paul Allen became the first-ever to call a race on helium.