NEW YORK (8/14/09)--The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has charged two California residents and two companies--including an unlicensed savings and loan association that is also registered in Sweden as a "sparkassa" or credit union--with operating a Ponzi scheme that netted them $9 million from investors in four states. The SEC charged Bich Quyen Nguyen, 55, of Los Gatos, Calif.; Johnny E. Johnson, address unknown; and their entities, Sun Group and Sun Investment Savings and Loan, with securities fraud related to a multi-level marketing scheme. In the scheme, they promised returns of $35,000 a month on a $4,995 investment, according to a SEC filing May 13 in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The fraud allegedly occurred from at least June 2008 to May 2009. The SEC had previously charged two other entities, Empire Capital Asset Management (ECAM) and Sun Empire, and two individuals--Delilah A.Proctor, 57, Corona, Calif., and Shauntel McCoy, 36, Fontana, Calif.--with participating in the scheme. In the filing, SEC charged they misused investors' funds for their own personal use or sent money to other entities they operated, and failed to pay investors the returns promised. The scheme solicited hundreds of investors in California, Nevada, Texas and Arizona. They offered certificates of deposit with returns as high as 10% to 19.30%. SEC obtained an emergency court order to freeze the assets of the defendants and their companies and halt the scheme, according to a press release.