A former radio host and financial adviser from Maryland has been charged with running a $20million Ponzi scheme, while hoping to cast a ‘black-magic’ spell to silence Securities and Exchange Commission lawyers trying to investigate her.
Dawn Bennett, 55, who hosted the weekly show Financial Myth Busting with Dawn Bennett, siphoned about half of what she raised in a two-and-a-half-year scam to repay earlier investors, buy luxury items including hundreds of pairs of shoes and pay back rent to the Dallas Cowboys for a luxury suite at AT&T Stadium, federal authorities said.
Prosecutors also disclosed the discovery in an August 2 search of Bennett’s luxury penthouse in Chevy Chase, Maryland, of two freezers containing sealed Mason jars bearing the initials of SEC investigators, on whom Bennett, who had an interest in the occult, may have hoped to cast a ‘hoodoo spell.’
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Black magic: Dawn Bennett, 55, a former radio host and financial adviser, has been charged with running a $20million Ponzi scheme, while hoping to cast a spell on investigators
Evidence: A search of Bennett’s luxury penthouse in Maryland yielded two freezers containing sealed Mason jars bearing the initials of SEC attorneys (evidence photo seen above)
The Mason jars, pictured inside Bennett’s fridge, were allegedly intended to play a part in a ‘hoodoo spell’ meant to silence SEC officials
Bennett was arrested in New Mexico on august 25 and was criminally charged on Monday with wire fraud, bank fraud and making false statements related to a loan and credit application, according to federal court records in Greenbelt, Maryland.
The SEC filed related civil charges on Friday against Bennett and her company DJB Holdings LLC, a Washington luxury sports apparel firm operating as DJBennett.
According to the SEC, Bennett, who also owns property in Santa Fe, New Mexico, preyed upon mainly elderly or unsophisticated investors, and raised money from at least 46 investors by promising annual returns as high as 15 per cent from DJB notes.
The complaint alleges that Bennett exaggerated the safety of the notes and success of her firm, used some investor funds on herself and others to repay earlier investors.
The criminal case included an comprehensive 36-page affidavit from Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Keith Custer detailing what he called Bennett’s ‘consciousness of guilt.’ The document included photos of Bennett’s vast shoe collection and the jars bearing initials on the lids.
It discussed evidence gathered from a search of her Chevy Chase penthouse and the discovery of instructions for a ‘Beef Tongue Shut Up Hoodoo Spell,’ which calls for slicing an animal’s tongue.
Home sweet home: Bennett lived at the luxury Somerset House apartment complex in Chevy Chase, Maryland
If the shoe fits: Inside Bennett’s home, agents found a massive shoe collections with footwear in every color of the rainbow
Custer said these called for a spell-caster to say the name of the individual targeted by the ‘hoodoo spell,’ similar to a ‘voodoo spell,’ followed by ‘I cross and cover you[,] come under my command[.] I command you to hold your tongue.’
Consistent with those instructions, Custer said agents also found the Mason jars, ‘suggesting that Bennett had many times cast a “hoodoo spell” in hopes of paranormally silencing the SEC attorneys investigating Bennett.’
The SEC had banned Bennett from the securities industry in July 2016 and fined her company $4million after she protested an enforcement case against her by ignoring it.
Properties in Bennett’s building on Wisconsin Avenue in Chevy Chase cost upwards of $2million, and the complex features tennis courts
Residents have access to indoor and outdoor heated swimming pools and a spa
On her personal website, Bennett described herself as ‘a Certified Management Investment Analyst with over thirty years of experience in professional money management.’
A graduate of the University of Utah and the Wharton School of Business Securities Industry Institute at the University of Pennsylvania, Bennett launched her firm, Bennett Group Financial Services LLC in 2006, focusing on ‘individual, corporate and foundational financial portfolios and secure investments through unique, comprehensive solutions that rely on the group’s in-depth insight into market trends,’ according to her homepage.
At the height of her career as a financial adviser, Bennett managed ‘as much as $350million in customer assets,’ earning her ‘millions of dollars annually in commissions.’
Bennett has been living in a penthouse apartment at the luxury Somerset House Condos complex on Wisconsin Avenue in Chevy Chase, where properties cost upwards of $2million.
According to the DC-based real estate site LegendaryHomes.com, Somerset House is comprised of three building that sit on 17 acres of manicured landscape in the gated community of Friendship Heights.
The property features 24-hour security, around the clock doormen service, indoor and outdoor heated swimming pools, a spa, tennis courts, a state-of-the-art fitness center, racquetball courts, billiards and table tennis rooms.