by Nevada News Bureau staff: Investigators from the Secretary of State’s office today arrested Hans Seibt at his Las Vegas residence on 25 counts of securities fraud and six counts of theft. The criminal complaint filed by Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto charges that Seibt was essentially operating a Ponzi scheme that victimized investors in Nevada and several other states.
Operating under the business names HSLV Development Corp. and Clark and Nye County Development Corp., Seibt successfully solicited investments of $10,000 or more from his victims, offering them trust deeds, joint venture agreements, and subscription agreements, all of which were supposedly secured by parcels of land Seibt was holding in Nye County.
Investigators say the land’s value was grossly exaggerated in order to support Seibt’s claims to his victims. The complaint also charges that Seibt and his representatives told victims they would receive a return of between 10 percent and 12 percent on their investment, but that Seibt, rather than actually purchasing the land, had used the money to pay off other investors and for personal use.
“Targeting senior citizens is particularly egregious,” Masto said. “I want to commend the Secretary of State’s office for bringing the evidence which resulted in the filing of this complaint.”
Secretary of State Ross Miller said: “I can’t stress enough the importance of every investor conducting the most thorough due diligence possible when making an investment. Investing is a complicated and, to varying degrees, risky process. So-called interest payments or distributions that are paid to some investors aren’t a guarantee that an investment is legitimate. That’s the whole basis for a Ponzi scheme. Potential investors just can’t be careful enough, especially in the current economic environment.”
Seibt was booked in Clark County jail this morning, and was initially being held without bail pending an initial appearance in Justice Court.
As in all criminal matters, the Secretary of State’s office cautions that allegations are only accusations and individuals are presumed to be innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.