Unstructured Finance

Tyrone Gilliams now tries his hand at the law

June 5, 2011

By Matthew Goldstein

Tyrone Gilliams, the self-styled online preacher, hip-hop promoter and commodities trader, who an investor claims misappropriated his $4 million, is now trying to be a lawyer.

For now, at least, the Philadelphia-based trader is representing himself in a civil lawsuit filed earlier this year in New York federal court by Cincinnati businessman David Parlin. In a court proceeding last week, Gilliams said he can’t hire a lawyer because a judge in a related lawsuit filed in New York state court has put a temporary freeze on some of his bank accounts.

A person familiar with last Thursday’s hearing before U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff said Gilliams called-in to the proceeding by phone, even though he was expected to appear in court in person. The judge gave Gilliams another month to file an official response to Parlin’s complaint, which claims Gilliams misappropriated his $4 million investment and spent it largely on personal expenses.

Reuters last month reported on the allegations against Parlin and used it as a case study to highlight that even after Madoff and Stanford, dubious investment schemes continue to proliferate. And otherwise savvy investors continue to fall prey to schemes that boast super high returns–even if these investors should no better.

Federal authorities including the Securities and Exchange Commission and federal prosecutors in New York are said to be monitoring the matter, say several people familiar with the situation. But it’s too early to characterize the interest of U.S. authorities as an active investigation. It appears to be more of a wait-and-see kind of response to the Parlin lawsuit and the Reuters story.

Meanwhile, the website for Gilliams’ trading firm, TL Gilliams, remains open for business.

 

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