House of Sport: Alleged Ponzi scheme leaves investors missing millions of dollars

Alleged Ponzi scheme victims fear they may never recover their money after the man they invested millions of dollars with suddenly vanished.

Poker player Marley Wynter ran House of Sport, promising good returns to investors, but when the business collapsed he disappeared.

Nicky Hotop invested $13,000, with her returns reaching $95,000 but when she tried to withdraw the money she was met with excuses.

“One of my other daughters said, ‘Mum, this sounds like a Ponzi scheme’,” Ms Hotop told A Current Affair.

“I’m like, ‘What is that?’

“I hope he’s made accountable for the lives he’s ruined.”

Poker player Craig Abernethy said when he heard about returns of up to 400 per cent he had doubts.

“You don’t know you’ve been ripped off until it’s too late,” he said.

Mr Abernethy said there were “quite a lot of red flags”.

“There was no transparency, he never showed any betting slips,” he said.

Mr Abernethy said he also examined claims on the House of Sport website that $50,000 had been donated to a children’s cancer charity.

The charity confirmed it never received a cent from House of Sport.

Mr Abernethy has so far tallied more than $3m invested from 79 people.

“The total stack balances, like with all the return on investment, was somewhere over $40m,” he said.

“It’s Monopoly money … just pixels on a computer screen. You know, there’s just nothing behind it at all.”

Mr Wynter tried to reassure investors it was not a Ponzi scheme and gave some clients their money back.

But House of Sport shut down in January last year.

Late last year, he disappeared so anyone seeking compensation cannot serve him with a legal claim.

Lawyer Brent Stowers is representing 11 former investors, seeking more than $1m they deposited.

“They’ve been kept in the dark, they’ve been provided false information, they’ve been made promise after promise that hasn’t come through,” he said.

Mr Stowers said Mr Wynter had blamed the banks, saying they had frozen his accounts for various reasons.