LAS VEGAS – Investigators suspect that a Las Vegas man ran a Ponzi scheme in which, instead of investing money in the stock market, he gambled millions of dollars at casinos, spending tens of thousands of dollars per day.
Records reveal that on Tuesday, December 13, Las Vegas Metro police arrested Rodney Buckle, 65, on a warrant for various fraud-related offences, including securities fraud and theft.
Warisra Stevens, Buckle’s co-defendant, pled guilty last year to securities fraud and theft conspiracy counts, according to court records. Stevens was sentenced to a minimum of 19 months in prison by a judge.
Buckle, who managed businesses called “Rodd United,” “Rodd U,” and “Rodd One,” described himself as a “life coach and financial counselor,” according to records acquired by 8 News Now Investigators from the Nevada Secretary of State’s Office. According to investigators, he was not licensed with the state or federal governments.
According to the papers, the shop was near Flamingo Road and Arville Street. “Rodd University is a membership-based social club providing a forum for research and discussing issues ranging from current affairs to the stock market,” according to an online posting about the business.
“Buckle provided counsel and advise on [stock accounts], other stock investments, and sports betting,” according to the investigators. “Buckle offered investors a weekly return ranging from 1% to 52% on stocks and sports betting.”
Buckle initially accepted checks from investors. According to investigators, he then converted to a cash-only approach.
Investigators added, “Investors stated that Buckle showed them a spreadsheet on his computer recording their name and the amount they invested with him.”
Buckle then informed his investors he needed additional money “to produce a ‘waterfall’ effect in order to generate ‘new’ money for investments,” state police noted in court records. Investors took out loans, refinanced their houses, and used credit cards to pay Buckle in the hope of receiving their guaranteed profits.”
The investigator stated that she began her probe after a couple complained to the state about not receiving a return on their investment. Buckle offered the couple a 50% return on “bets he would place on their behalf” in 2015, according to the investigators.
According to the authorities, the couple asked Buckle for some of the money back in 2017 after spending tens of thousands of dollars due to a new cancer diagnosis and other expenditures.
The pair also discovered that Buckle had been ordered to pay $3 million in reparations by the Securities and Exchange Commission in 1999. According to the lawsuit, Buckle “sold approximately $3 million in unregistered securities while making fraudulent and misleading statements to investors.”
According to the records, the SEC filing involves a firm called Maven Enterprises. Buckle lived in Las Vegas and “claims to be a professional gambler,” according to SEC officials.
Buckle’s girlfriend, Stevens, told investigators Buckle took out approximately $25,000 each week “for personal use and gaming,” according to records. “Stevens said Buckle supported her lifestyle and paid her bills. Stevens said that the entire operation was a Ponzi scheme.”
Investigators said Stevens told them she suspected the money was used to support Buckle’s gambling addiction. Buckle, according to another source, “would gamble anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000 on a daily basis.”
Buckle was then discovered to have wagered $2.4 million at the Westgate Hotel and Casino’s sports book, where he lost $76,000. According to investigators, Buckle was eventually barred from the casino.
According to investigators, Buckle also lost $434,000 at the South Point casino.
State authorities raided Buckle’s home in 2017, seizing electronics and gaming tickets, among other things. Buckle and Stevens’ arrest warrants were issued in December 2019. It was unclear what caused the 3-year delay in the arrest, however, Buckle appeared to have self-surrendered.
Buckle was ordered jailed without bail by a judge. He was scheduled to appear in court in January.
Credits: 8 News Now
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