Garrett Elder, accused of bilking at least 130 Alaskans out of tens of millions of dollars through a phony investment scam called Tycoon Trading, is evidently cooperating with federal prosecutors and will avoid a lengthy trial. Instead, he will plead guilty and get a five-year sentence, court records show. His next hearing date was suddenly changed on Monday from April 14 to May 15, so that the settlement can be finalized.
But many of his victims are furious that the settlement leaves them high and dry, and believe the attorneys for the U.S. District Attorney Alaska have not done their job.
Victims tell Must Read Alaska that the DOJ has been lazy and has no idea of just how far the scam reaches. They say that in addition to wire fraud, they believe that money laundering has occurred, possibly through some of the dozens of shell companies that appear to have been set up by Elder or his late father Chris Elder or other members of the family — businesses that seem to have no real existence except on paper. The extraordinary number of these businesses is at least a red flag, the victims say.
Victims include one widow whose dying husband gave all their money to Garrett Elder so that his wife would be take care of after his passing. Elder took all the money and lived a high-fling lifestyle. The widow ended up with nothing.
Victims believe that Garrett Elder is now duping prosecutors, just as they were duped, because he is a skillful manipulator. No one — not even the prosecutors, evidently — can believe that such a wholesome-looking young man would continue to rip people off until the month he was caught.
“Garrett’s been interviewed by several and one individual at the FBI said that it was difficult to reconcile the image of the clean cut and painfully honest young man being interviewed against the charge of him having stolen $15mm and I agree; Garrett Elder is a manipulative liar of Machiavellian level skill. I would wager much that his wife never had a clue what he was up to until the final 48 hours of the company. The other employees were apparently shocked at the announcement on the last day which was ‘yeah, all the money’s gone; we’re closed. Go home,'” one victim wrote.
Victims have provided Must Read Alaska with extensive documentation, and it appears to check out. Garrett Elder and members of his family did, indeed, set up an extraordinary number of limited liability corporations in a short period of time. There’s no evidence they could have run that many businesses.
In fact, some victims say that it has the same look and feel that the crypto-currency exchange FTX had before it melted down and its founder Sam Bankman-Fried ended up on an ankle monitor.
The Tycoon Trading victims point out that companies normally have income, employ people, and bring something of value to the community. But there are so many businesses relating to Elder and a web of other people in his immediate orbit that seem downright fake to the victims, who say the government has barely scratched the surface:
“Do you have a company? Do you have a family? If you have both, what do you think a reasonable number of businesses between the few of you might be? Let’s look at the number of businesses between the original members of Tycoon Trading for a moment and see if this seems about right to you ,” victims wrote to Must Read Alaska, with the promise their identities would be kept confidential.
Here are some companies that some of the Elder family collectively hold wholly or partially, or had recent membership in:
– AB-GP, LLC
– Alaska Private Equity LLC
– Alaska Private Equity 2, LLC
– Azalea Woods Subdivision
– Big Boys Toys & Pawn, LLC
– Black Swan, LLC
– Buck Wilder and Associates, LLC
– Elder Enterprises, LLC
– Evangelo’s LLC
– Faith Bible Fellowship of Big Lake
– Goats on a Roof LLC
– Guidance DPC LLC
– Home Water, LLC
– Intentional Legacy Holdings, LLC
– Karis Integrative Medicine LLC
– Kairos Group, Inc.
– Lake Haven LLC
– Land and Cabins LLC
– Mat-Su Thermography LLC
– Mizuna Capital LLC
– Mizuna Matata, LLC
– Northern Financial Services LLC
– Northern Skies LLC
– No Bosses LLC
– Our Cottage LLC
– Ocean Financing, Inc.
– Ocean Financing, LLC
– RMG Legacy Global, Inc.
– Some Other LLC
– Standard Investments LLC
– Storage Facility LLC
– Sunridge Apartments LLC
– TGI Funding Co., LLC
– The Kona Connection LLC
– Tycoon Trading LLC
– Westwood Water Company, Inc.
There are several other paper entities in other parts of the country including C&E (Chris and Elizabeth Elder) Revocable Trust, Alaska Private Equity 2, LLC (formed by Chris Elder in Wyoming during April of 2020 / SEC Form D @ $25mm), the Daily Bread Fund LLC, formed by Garrett Elder two months later in 2020 in Wyoming (filed SEC form D @ $30mm).
Another person, Jordon Trice, who was involved with Daily Bread Fund and one of Garrett Elder’s companies, Mizuna Capital, also appears on corporate documents.
Of note, even after the Alaska Division of Banking and Securities ordered Garrett Elder to cease and desist his activities in October, and just before the Justice Department formally charged Elder, he transferred his entire interest in Mizuna Capital to Trice in January of 2023. The Division of Corporations in the Department of Commerce stamped the approval of the transfer.
The question that the victims want the Justice Department to answer is, where is the money? They don’t believe all of it has been squandered, because they think it’s hard to squander $34 million in just a couple of years. They want to know if some of it has been squirreled away, maybe under a bed, maybe in silver, or maybe in one of these other family-associated companies.
As for the timeline of Tycoon Trading, here’s what the victims have researched on their own, because they feel they are not getting any help from the Justice Department, but have been instead advised by the DOJ to not get attorneys.
– Standard Investments formed by Blake and Natalie Elder
– Tycoon Trading formed as family-owned business
– Chris Elder / DUI with firearm
– Family endows Garrett Elder w/ $10k-$20k seed money
– Garrett squanders entire family endowment. Family is aware.
– Tycoon Trading completes first catastrophic failure of fund.
– Garrett solicits investors from outside the family.
– Garrett attracts $500k. Conceals prior catastrophic failure. Squanders outside investor’s money, provides falsified performance reports.
– 11-2017 Chris & Amy Elder divorce
– Garrett completes second total fund failure.
– Investors notified of failure. Garrett hides the fact that he had intentionally falsified interim performance reports.
– 02-2018 Balance of Elder family abandon Tycoon Trading ownership by removing their names from official Biennial Report. None of the formal change of ownership documents were filed such that all remain owners.
– 03-2018 Garrett reported as new sole member of Tycoon Trading LLC.
– Garrett continues to solicit new business. Now views investors as income source. Gets millions from new clients.
– 04-2020 Chris Elder forms Alaska Private Equity 2 w/ SEC Form D claiming value of $25 million.
– 06-2020 Garrett Elder forms Daily Bread Fund w/ SEC Form D claiming value of $30 million.
– 10-2020 Chris and (new wife) Elizabeth Elder buy Evangelo’s Restaurant, valued at $2 million for $6.85 million.
– 07-2021 Garrett Elder forms Mizuna Capital in Anchorage.
– 07-2021 Garrett Elder forms Mizuna Matata in Delaware.
– 12-2021 Garrett Elder forms Northern Financial Services.
– 12-2021 Garrett Elder forms Buck Wilder & Associates.
– 09-20-2022 Garrett Elder attempts to purchase a nearly new Porsche 911 Turbo S Coupe
– 10-02-2022 Some members advised of fund’s (now third) catastrophic failure. All the money is gone.
01-18-2023 Garrett Elder transfers 100% ownership of Mizuna Capital to Jordon Trice, who owns Aspen Alpha Advisers.
“Is it possible that dear old dad started a fictitious company w/ zero value and two months later Garrett did the exact same thing? That certainly appears to be the case,” one of the victims wrote.
“Does that mean then that you should highly suspect the motives of the DOJ when they say Garrett was a really bad trader? Investors talk about money being lost. That’s a misnomer; money is not lost, it is moved. In this case, is it likely that Garrett traded your money with he and his dad’s companies and if the DOJ gets their way he’ll get out in five years and be spending your coin?” one victim wrote.
Photo credit: Garrett Elder from his Facebook account.