By: April Carson
Florida authorities are on the hunt for Cedric Dewayne Griffin, a Jacksonville resident, who is alleged to have scammed nearly $6 million from members of the Black community.
Griffin reportedly sold real estate promissory notes to victims, but instead of investing that money into real estate, he pocketed it for himself. This latest revelation has engendered understandable outrage and frustration among those affected by this unscrupulous scheme.
The Securities and Exchange Commission revealed that Griffin had bilked at least $5,895,024 from 103 investors in Jacksonville and beyond through fraudulent means.
According to a complaint filed by the SEC, Kenneth Griffin enticed investors with promises of high monthly returns between 10% and 33% by issuing them with promissory notes from two firms he owned - G8 Equity LLC and G8 RE Capital LLC. This went on from January 2020 to December 2021, with over 546 such notes being sold to investors.
Griffin found potential investors through word of mouth and his church in Jacksonville, Florida. While he reached out to prospects from seven states, including North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, the major chunk of investors were African-American and from Jacksonville itself, as disclosed by SEC. Griffin allegedly used a classic Ponzi scheme tactic, using new investments to pay off old investors, making it seem like the scheme was legitimate. However, this eventually collapsed when he could no longer keep up with the amount of promised returns.
Griffin purportedly promised investors that he would obtain their funds for acquiring, renovating, and reselling real estate at a profit. Furthermore, he committed to paying monthly returns to investors from those profits.
According to the SEC, Griffin's claim of purchasing real estate was untrue. Instead, he exploited investor funds for personal gain and to pay off earlier investors under the guise of returns, resembling a classic Ponzi scheme.
The SEC accused Griffin of deceiving potential investors who sought passive income by falsely claiming he had twenty years of experience buying and selling real estate. He promised investors high monthly returns from using their funds exclusively to purchase homes at wholesale prices and reselling them within 45 days at a profit in a tactic known as "flipping properties." However, the SEC claims Griffin misled investors, and that his scheme to generate returns was fraudulent.
The SEC's complaint stated that Griffin provided investors with false representations regarding the use of their funds. From July 23, 2021, until at least December 17, 2021, Griffin utilized at least $3,950,000 of investors' funds to refund other investors their supposed returns on investment. The SEC alleges that this "Ponzi scheme" enabled Griffin to keep up appearances and appear trustworthy to new investors while he continued to pocket their money for his own benefit.
According to the SEC, Griffin misused investor funds for personal expenses. He reportedly made payments to luxury retailers, jewelry stores, and churches, and covered his living expenses. Griffin also allegedly misappropriated more than $1,850,000 from investor funds.
In March of 2022, Griffin, a real estate businessman, was charged by the Jacksonville State Attorney's Office with three counts of grand theft. Although a court date was scheduled earlier this month, Griffin failed to appear. This case highlights the importance of conducting thorough research and due diligence before investing money. It serves as a reminder that promises of high returns with little to no risk should always be approached with caution.
Furthermore, the Securities and Exchange Commission has launched a federal lawsuit against Griffin for allegedly committing six counts of fraud. Griffin's whereabouts are currently unknown, and the Jacksonville police have requested anyone with information about his whereabouts to contact them immediately.
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April Carson is the daughter of Billy Carson. She received her bachelor's degree in Social Sciences from Jacksonville University, where she was also on the Women's Basketball team. She now has a successful clothing company that specializes in organic baby clothes and other items. Take a look at their most popular fall fashions on bossbabymav.com
To read more of April's blogs, check out her website! She publishes new blogs on a daily basis, including the most helpful mommy advice and baby care tips! Follow on IG @bossbabymav
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