• Letter to Editor
  • Pin it

Sunil Sharma of Carlsbad pleaded guilty yesterday (June 2) of scamming local investors of more than $6 million through a fraudulent day-trading strategy.

Through one of his companies, Gold Coast Holding, Sharma told investors they could make safe returns as he invested half the money in bonds of Brazil, Russia, India, and China (called BRIC bonds), and the other half in gains from his day-trading.

He sent his investors false quarterly statements indicating that their investments were doing well.

Actually, according to the U.S. Attorney's office, he never bought the BRIC bonds or any kind of bonds. Instead, he pursued stock-option strategies through Gold Coast and another company he established, Safe Harbor Tax Lien Acquisitions. But as his early successes vanished, he began a Ponzi scheme, paying early investors with funds from later investors, as he continued to speculate in options, hoping to recoup his losses.

Sharma ran out of funds in January of this year. He will be sentenced for wire fraud on August 24.

  • Letter to Editor
  • Pin it


dwbat June 4, 2015 @ 8:04 a.m.

His company was Gold Coast Holding, LLC (not "Holdings"). The actual amount in the Ponzi scheme was $8.36 million, but about $2 million was paid to investors, thus the $6 million figure was reported by the U.S. Attorney's Office. Since he's 68, he could possibly serve the rest of his life behind bars.


Ponzi June 4, 2015 @ 8:40 a.m.

The Ponzi scheme business model is so much more efficient that dealing with messy details like profits and accounting. Taking from Peter to pay Paul doesn't require the discipline that those competitive type people who earn a real living must endure. My guess is he will be sentenced to serve 5 to 7 years. Of course if he was smart and hid a million in coffee cans in his backyard, he might be able to afford some better than average legal work.


Don Bauder June 4, 2015 @ 8:46 a.m.

Ponzi: He could have buried coffee cans in his backyard, but it would have been easier to stash the loot in an offshore bank. But I see no evidence of that. Best, Don Bauder


Don Bauder June 4, 2015 @ 8:42 a.m.

dwbat: I sent the item in as Gold Coast Holding, using the singular. I don't know what happened, and I am not screaming and pounding the table over the matter. The $6 million was what was fleeced from investors.

He could potentially get 20 years, but surely will get far less than that, partly because he was not telling investors they would make huge returns. (He talked about 5 or 6 percent a year.) Best, Don Bauder


dwbat June 4, 2015 @ 8:47 a.m.

Nobody is "screaming and pounding the table" so why bring that up? That sounds like an insult, and a not particularly efficacious one. ;-) Apparently some writers just cannot stand to be corrected. But it goes with the biz.


Don Bauder June 4, 2015 @ 8:54 a.m.

dwbat: In this case, the writer was not being corrected. Somebody else who made "Holding" plural was being corrected. See, I can nitpick, too. Best, Don Bauder


dwbat June 4, 2015 @ 9:08 a.m.

Just an old magazine editor's habit. Editors are supposed to "nitpick" as that's part of being a good editor. You've never been an editor, so you don't get it.


Don Bauder June 4, 2015 @ 11:18 a.m.

dwbat: Au contraire. My title at the Union and Union-Tribune was financial editor for more than 20 years. I edited other people's copy every day, although I cut back on editing as my column started appearing almost every day. At Business Week, I was a bureau chief so I edited copy regularly. Best, Don Bauder


dwbat June 4, 2015 @ 2:25 p.m.

I stand corrected (and I don't mind being corrected). Well, maybe I'll scream and pound the table just a LITTLE bit. ;-) We ALL make mistakes.


Robert Mizrachi June 4, 2015 @ 12:33 p.m.

In fact checking, there were more references to "Holdings" than "Holding," so I pluralized it. But, let's go with the FBI on this one. It's revised.



Don Bauder June 4, 2015 @ 9:32 p.m.

Robert Mizrachi: Those kinds of inconsistencies crop up often in government documents. I am not faulting you at all. Best, Don Bauder


dwbat June 4, 2015 @ 2:21 p.m.

This takes me back to the '60s, and the rock band Big Brother and the Holding Company. ;-)


Don Bauder June 4, 2015 @ 9:34 p.m.

dwbat: Never heard of them. Should have been the name of one of those extremely dubious conglomerates, backed by dirty money, that proliferated in the 1960s. Best, Don Bauder


AlexClarke June 5, 2015 @ 6:22 a.m.

And the conservatives want to put Social Security in the hands of Wall Street. How is that 401k working out?


Don Bauder June 5, 2015 @ 7:07 a.m.

AlexClarke: This would be one argument out of thousands against privatizing Social Security. Best, Don Bauder


Sign in to comment

Let’s Be Friends

Subscribe for local event alerts, concerts tickets, promotions and more from the San Diego Reader