On December 11, Christine Cayton wandered into Austin’s Triton Financial dressed in her pajamas holding a bottle of wine in one hand and a glass in the other.
Then she pulled a handgun, and demanded Triton return her $125,000 investment.
(She’s embarrassed now, but she still wants her money back. There’s a video of her explaining her actions below.)
It’s no excuse for gun fire, but it just so happens the SEC recently charged Triton and its CEO, Kurt Barton with luring investors into a $50 million Ponzi scheme, saying the firm associated with football players “to build a facade of legitimacy and build investor trust.” How did they do it?
For starters, here’s their website claiming, “Teamwork. Accountability. Trust.” Also sketchy, former quarterback Jeff Blake sent an email to NFL players claiming that over the past five years, Triton investments had returned an annual average of 32 per cent.
Also, it just so happens that Triton associate — former Heismann winner Ty Detmer — just left the firm to coach a local high school team. Weirdly, this Austin American-Statesman piece on the move barely mentions Triton’s problems.
Of course the firm’s numbers lie too.
Barton apparently told an investor that $1 million of his money would be invested in a company called “Heries” that now appears to be fictional. Meanwhile another entity, Triton Insurance, raised $8.4 million to invest in the National States Insurance Company, only instead Barton put the money towards Triton’s own expenses and obligations.
According to a local news station, many of Triton’s investors were friends and family and Barton says he plans to ensure none of their money is lost.