A Seattle man with a decades-long record of financial crime is in trouble with the law again, this time for a scam he allegedly began planning while still in federal prison.

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A Seattle man with a decades-long record of financial crime is in trouble with the law again, this time for a scam he allegedly began planning while still in federal prison.

Gerald L. Rogers, 69, is being held at the Federal Detention Center in SeaTac on suspicion of violating parole, and two federal regulators have moved to shut down his investment firm, Premium Income Corp. (PIC).

PIC, which also does business under the names TriForex International and Inforex, told investors it deals in sophisticated foreign-exchange transactions known as covered currency calls. On its Web site, now shut down, the company advertised the calls as safe investments that paid annualized rates as high as 14.2 percent.

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In reality, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, PIC is nothing more than a Ponzi scheme, in which old investors are paid with cash from new investors.

Between January 2004 and last month, when state and federal regulators began moving against PIC and Rogers, the company collected some $8.5 million from investors, many of them retirees or people close to retirement age, according to complaints the two agencies filed in U.S. District Court in Dallas.

Almost $7 million has been transferred to overseas accounts controlled by Rogers, the agencies claim.

PIC seemed to be moving into higher gear in recent months, the SEC alleged. Rogers took steps to qualify PIC to accept individual-retirement-account funds, and its brokers began urging investors to take out home-equity loans and use the money to open PIC accounts.

Records from Asia-Europe-Americas Bank showed that more than $2.4 million was deposited into PIC’s account last month, more than three times as much as in any previous month.

The complaints name Rogers and Alexander Shevchenko of Shoreline, who allegedly owned half of PIC, managed its Seattle operations and was a co-signatory on its bank accounts.

The SEC and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission want to bar Rogers, Shevchenko and the PIC-related entities from taking in any more investor money, and to require them to give up any profits and pay unspecified fines.

Last week the judge in the case froze PIC’s assets and appointed a receiver to take control of the business, go through its records and locate all its assets.

A notice of the seizure and receivership is posted on the locked doors of PIC’s office on Westlake Avenue North. A second address listed for PIC is merely a mail drop in Loyal Heights.

Neither man has yet responded formally to the complaints. In a brief telephone interview, Shevchenko, 64, denied knowledge of any illegal activities and declined to comment further.

Rogers was arrested Feb. 24, said Pam Holloway, a spokeswoman for the detention center in SeaTac. He is being held until the U.S. Parole Commission determines whether he has violated the terms of his release, Holloway said.

Rogers, who was born in Illinois and raised in the Black Diamond area, first came to public view in the early 1980s. The business manager for a tiny religious sect in Seattle, Rogers was sued by the sect’s few remaining members to regain control over its assets.

In 1987 a federal jury in Los Angeles convicted Rogers on eight counts of mail fraud and 21 counts of aiding in the preparation of false income-tax returns, related to a movie-investment scheme. Rogers fled the country before sentencing, however; it wasn’t until 1990 that he was arrested in Switzerland, returned to the United States and sentenced to 10 years in prison and five years’ probation.

Later that year, a federal jury in Colorado convicted Rogers on 10 mail-fraud counts and three counts of securities fraud over a gold-mine investment scheme he had promoted as a tax shelter. Rogers received a 25-year sentence; records indicate he was paroled in December 2003.

Among the conditions of Rogers’ parole were that he stay in Arizona, get a job outside the financial field and “under no circumstances provide financial advice to any person or solicit financial investments of any kind.”

But according to court filings, while still in prison Rogers used a fake identity to form Inforex, one of the PIC-related entities. He incorporated PIC in January 2004, less than a month after leaving prison, and relocated to Seattle in mid-2004.

Rogers, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission said in its complaint, is an “economic threat to society” with “a three-decade history of committing cunning white-collar offenses.”

Drew DeSilver: 206-464-3145 or ddesilver@seattletimes.com