A Norman man and his company are being accused of stealing millions of dollars from dozens of investors. State leaders are exposing what they're calling a Ponzi scheme in Oklahoma.
A petition filed in Oklahoma County District Court lays out serious allegations against Robert Arrowood and Trinity Fund, LLC of Norman. The Oklahoma Department of Securities says Arrowood accepted money from investors and used their money fund his lavish lifestyle. He is being accused of playing the game of Bernie Madoff. The Norman investor will soon face a civil court date to answer for more than $3 million of vanished cash.
"This is a classic Ponzi," Irving Faught, administrator with the Oklahoma Department of Securities said.
Instead of buying what the investment is intended for, the Department of Securities says Arrowood paid off former investors with later investments to keep the supply of money flowing.
"It never works," Faught said. "Pretty soon people will figure it out."
The State says Arrowood was in the business of buying and reselling oil and gas leases for more than 20 years. In October of 2009, it all collapsed, and the fund filed for bankruptcy. Court documents allege Arrowood paid $18,000 to the NBA in Oklahoma City. The documents go on to report that nearly $43,000 was paid on a Cadillac, and $10,000 was dished out for airline tickets and nights at the Bellagio Hotel in Vegas.
"It's gut-wrenching," Faught said.
News 9 stopped by Trinity Fund in Norman, but we were told Arrowood was in a meeting. Shortly thereafter, an assistant gave News 9 the number for Arrowood's attorney, who never called us back. Just down the street from the fund, a property is listed with the Cleveland County Assessor's Office under the name of Robert Arrowood. The market value of the property is nearly half a million dollars.
The State says there are about 30 victims in the case. Officials say Arrowood promised investments that would mature in less than 60 days with a return rate of 90 percent. Experts say that is just too good to be true.
The Department of Securities says its main goal is to get the money back to the investors, but officials admit it is usually difficult to accomplish that goal.