CHESHIRE -- A home that cost one man more than $3 million sold for $65,000 on Friday.
The unassuming blue house at 22 Church St. once served as the listed headquarters for a $9 million Ponzi scheme operated under Braintree Energy Inc., which used the address until 2006. The home was auctioned Friday, nearly 5 years after the owner of Braintree Energy was ordered to pay millions by a federal court. The investment company was raided by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in February 2007.
Adams Community Bank purchased the home Friday against two other bidding parties for $65,000. Bank representatives could not be immediately reached for comment.
The owners of the house, Kimberly and James Hurlbut, were listed in 2007 state records as employees of Braintree Energy. Kimberly served as the company's treasurer and secretary, while James was listed as its president.
The SEC alleged in its 2007 complaint that Braintree Energy's Canadian owner, Howard Graham, had illegally garnered $9 million in investments from more than 200 investors between 2000 and 2006. Braintree Energy courted potential investors through its website and cold calls. Graham promised unattainable returns of 500 to 900 percent on investments.
Graham "fraudulently offered and sold unregistered securities in the form of investment contracts" for oil and gas wells, according to an SEC statement released in 2007.
Graham failed to notify investors he planned to use approximately 30 percent -- or $3 million -- of their money for his personal use, according to the SEC.
The U.S. District Court in Massachusetts issued a judgment by consent in December 2008 against Graham, who was ordered to pay $3.27 million in restitution and fines, plus interest. The house has gone up for auction several times since the court's finding, but has always been delayed until Friday's sale.
Graham consented to the judgment in 2008 "without admitting or denying" the allegations made against him.
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