The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has charged Diana Mae Fernandez, 37, with conducting a fraudulent securities offering. According to a recent litigation release, Fernandez allegedly promised investors high returns, up to 63%, by investing their funds in cryptocurrencies, various companies, and luxury real estate. Instead, the SEC claims that she used these funds for personal expenses, engaging in a classic Ponzi scheme.
Through her entities “The Self-Made Success” and “Diana Mae K., LLC,” Fernandez is said to have raised approximately $364,000 from at least 20 investors. The complaint, filed in the Northern District of West Virginia on December 21, details how Fernandez attracted investors, notably from church groups and entrepreneur-focused social networks. The Securities and Exchange Commission accuses her of commingling investor funds with her own, using the money for everyday living costs, luxury hotel stays, cash withdrawals, and making payments to earlier investors in a Ponzi-like fashion.
SEC exposes Fernandez’s false investment claims
Fernandez, a former New Jersey resident, is accused of misrepresenting her experience and success to potential investors. The SEC’s complaint outlines how she claimed to have over 15 years of investing experience and boasted of having raised $100 million across 25 countries, assertions the SEC has declared false. She directed investors to transfer money directly to her bank account or through PayPal, maintaining sole control over these funds.
Despite her promises, the SEC alleges that Fernandez used most of the investor proceeds for personal benefits, with only a small portion used to make Ponzi payments to investors. This tactic purportedly allowed the fraudulent scheme to continue over an extended period.
Legal consequences and arrest
Fernandez’s actions have led to significant legal repercussions. U.S. prosecutors charged her with investment fraud in July, per a Justice Department statement. She reportedly defrauded multiple victims, including one from Marion County, West Virginia, of over $300,000. When it was time to deliver the investment returns, Fernandez falsely claimed that dividends couldn’t be paid, using the investors’ money for her benefit.
The gravity of the situation escalated with Fernandez’s arrest in Serbia. She now faces up to 20 years in prison for each of the five counts she has been charged with. This case highlights the increasing vigilance required in the digital investment landscape, particularly in areas like cryptocurrency, where regulatory frameworks are still evolving.
This ongoing situation is a cautionary tale for investors, underscoring the importance of due diligence and skepticism when dealing with investment opportunities that promise unusually high returns. The SEC’s involvement in this case reflects its commitment to protecting investors and maintaining fair, orderly, and efficient markets.