Watchdog Continues Pursuit of $1.2 Billion Ponzi Scheme Execs
The SEC has charged more former executives of Woodbridge Group of Companies in connection with an alleged $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme, the regulator says.
Ivan Acevedo and Dane Roseman, two former directors of investments in the group who were never registered with the SEC in any capacity, were allegedly responsible for raising the funds from more than 8,400 retail investors and making off with more than $3 million in compensation as a result, according to a complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, the regulator says in a press release.
Acevedo allegedly oversaw fundraising for the group’s securities from 2012 until 2015, when he was succeeded by Roseman, and the pair hired and trained Woodbridge’s salespeople, approved sales scripts and fraudulent marketing documents and helped disguise Woodbridge as a legitimate real estate investment fund, according to the SEC. Woodbridge filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in December 2017.
“Instead of telling investors the truth — that Woodbridge’s third-party lending business was a sham almost from inception — we allege that Acevedo and Roseman worked diligently to perpetuate this sham by preparing and disseminating false marketing materials to induce more investments, keeping this massive Ponzi scheme afloat,” Eric Bustillo, director of the SEC’s Miami regional office, says in the press release.
In addition to facing the SEC charges, Acevedo and Roseman were arrested and charged by criminal authorities, as was Robert Shapiro, the group’s founder and CEO, the SEC says.
Meanwhile, the regulator’s investigation of the alleged scheme is continuing, according to the press release.
In January, the SEC settled for $1 billion with the Woodbridge Group of Companies and Shapiro.
In February, Finra barred Floyd Powell, a veteran broker, for allegedly selling $3.49 million worth of promissory notes in Woodbridge to 13 investors.
Powell allegedly earned around $104,000 in commissions from the sales and never notified the two firms with which he was registered during the sale about these private securities transactions, as required.