An Illinois man was indicted on a federal fraud charge for operating what authorities are calling a Ponzi scheme that raised $75 million.
A criminal complaint filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court accused Kenneth D. Courtright of committing wire fraud through his Monooka-based company, Today’s Growth Consultant Inc., which also operated under a division named “The Income Store.”
Courtright, who lives in Minooka, was arrested Wednesday and appeared in federal court the same day, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois. Judge Jeffrey I. Cummings ordered him released on bond.
TGC, which claimed to build or acquire websites for investors, raised at least $75 million from more than 500 investors from January 2017 to October 2019, according to prosecutors.
Federal officials said TGC promised investors returns of up to 20% of their initial investment or 50% of website revenues, but Courtright paid investors with money raised from later investors.
He is also accused of spending investors’ money to pay his mortgage and a relative’s tuition, prosecutors said.
The scheme allegedly became unsustainable in December 2019 and the company notified investors of a moratorium on payments because of “challenges and headwinds” the business faced, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission ordered the company’s assets frozen on Dec. 30, the Sun-Times previously reported.
If convicted, Courtright could face a up to 20 years in federal prison, prosecutors said.