by Brian Mahany
An acclaimed concert pianist was charged by police with running a multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme according to a published report in the Toronto Globe and Mail. This marks the second time Tzvi Erez has been charged with fraud.
Published reports say that Erez bilked investors, primarily older investors, out of $9 million in a Ponzi scheme. Apparently he was similarly charged in 2009 with defrauding investors out of $27 million. That case was dropped because of “insufficient” prosecutorial resources.
Serial Ponzi scheme artists are rare but most of the larger Ponzi scheme fraudsters have a history of defrauding people. Rarely will someone go from being completely honest to stealing millions of dollars overnight. If the cops are correct, Erez is no exception.
In addition to his music, Erez ran a small printing business. He would tell investors that he secured large printing contracts with Tommy Hilfiger and Colgate-Palmolive. Investors were promised up to a 36% return (the average saving account rate is approximately 1/4 of 1 percent). According to prosecutors, he had no such contracts and his business was basically defunct.
Law enforcement officials say much of the money went to pay earlier investors, a classic sign of a Ponzi scheme. Returns far above average are another fraud red flag. In this case, even a little due diligence could have saved his current round of investors millions – a Google search reveals many stories of his past misdeeds.
The safer way to invest in Erez is probably through Amazon. For a mere $20.10 one can purchased his CD, an apparent 5 star rated production.
Where did the money go in this scheme? Much of the money went to pay earlier investors meaning the newest victims are frequently left holding the bag when the scheme collapses. Some of the money went to gambling debts too according to police.
If you are the victim of an investment fraud, contact an experienced fraud recovery attorney immediately. Time is not on your side if you wait. Although the original investors in this case did not get back their money, frequently investment fraud victims can recover all or much of their money. This is especially true if the investment was purchased through a third party broker dealer or other financial professional. Buying directly from the promoter, however, is often fraught with danger.
The fraud lawyers at Mahany & Ertl, LLC are well versed in fraud and asset recovery law and have helped many people get back their hard earned money. For more information contact attorney Brian Mahany for a confidential consultation. Brian can be reached at (414) 704-6731 (direct) or by email at
Mahany & Ertl, LLC – America’s Fraud Lawyers. Offices in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Portland, Maine and Detroit, Michigan. Services available most jurisdictions.