Cook No Longer in Contempt; 25-Yr. Sentence Begins
An order signed Monday by U.S. District Court Judge Michael Davis will allow convicted Ponzi schemer Trevor Cook to officially begin his 25-year prison sentence.
Cook, who was charged in March and pleaded guilty in April to one count of mail fraud and one count of tax evasion for his involvement in a $190 million Ponzi scheme, has been in jail since he was found in contempt of court in January.
The January order followed Cook's repeated refusal to help a receiver locate and liquidate more than $35 million in cash and assets.
Cook filed a motion requesting that the contempt order be lifted-but Davis denied the request in November. Documents filed by prosecutors at that time indicated that Cook had not provided assistance or shown why he was unable to comply with the order.
The denied motion meant that Cook could not officially begin serving his criminal sentence until he complied with the court's orders to help the receiver recover assets and his contempt status was cleared.
In Monday's order, however, Davis wrote that Cook has since turned over some of the requested items, including luxury cars and “certain sums of cash.” “However, millions of dollars sent overseas remain unaccounted for,” and requested e-mail and wire-transfer confirmations have not been provided, he said.
Since Davis denied Cook's order in November, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), and the receiver in the case have interviewed Cook for roughly 20 hours, and they have reported to the court that Cook supplied “additional information which has been helpful and which may be helpful in the future.”
Based on the new information, the SEC, the CFTC, and the receiver no longer opposed the motion to lift the contempt order-on the condition that the court retains jurisdiction and requires Cook to continue cooperating with them.
The judge's decision is effective November 1-meaning that Cook will get credit for the time he's spent in custody since that date.
According to Cook's plea agreement, he-with the help of others-raised at least $190 million from 1,000 or more investors who thought they were investing in a low-risk, high-return foreign-currency trading program. Instead, Cook used their money to make payments to other investors and give funds to Switzerland-based brokerage firm Crown Forex, SA, in an effort to deceive Swiss banking regulators.