SEC says Colbert woman ran Ponzi scheme

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SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) -- The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged the owner of a Spokane-based payday loan business with conducting a massive Ponzi scheme and stealing investor money to fund her home improvement projects, gambling and purchases of luxury cars.

The SEC alleges that Doris E. Nelson of Colbert, Wash., defrauded investors in her company, Little Loan Shoppe, by misrepresenting the profitability and safety of their investments.

The agency contends Nelson used the vast majority of new investor money to repay principal and purported returns to earlier investors.

The SEC contends Nelson raised about $135 million between 1999 and 2008 from at least 650 investors in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

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Information from: The Spokesman-Review, http://www.spokesman.com