Securities and Exchange Commission v. Lam, et al. was filed in the United States District Court for the Central District of California on September 22, 2022, claiming Defendants Brian Lam (“Lam”), Nathan Nguyen (“Nguyen”), NineSquare Capital Partners LLC (“NineSquare Capital”), and Nguyen Group LLC (“NGL”) (collectively, “Defendants”) violated several provisions of the Securities Act and Securities Exchange Act. Specifically, the SEC seeks permanent injunctive relief against all Defendants to prevent future violations of the federal securities laws, permanent injunctions prohibiting Defendants Lam and Nguyen from participating in an unregistered securities offering, disgorgement with prejudgment interest from Defendants and Relief Defendants Yi Ping Lu and Thy Stacy Nguyen (the “Relief Defendants”), and civil penalties against Defendants.

The SEC filed this action against Defendants for operating an offering fraud that targeted the Vietnamese-American community, which raised $11.7 million from 73 investors nationwide from March 2020 to January 2022. Defendant Lam orchestrated the fraud through his company NineSquare, a Delaware limited partnership which purported to be a hedge fund. Defendant Nguyen is the principal of NGL, a company that helped solicit investors in NineSquare. The two Relief Defendants, Yi Ping Lu, Lam’s wife, and Thy Stacy Nguyen, Nguyen’s wife, purportedly used proceeds from the fraud to pay for luxury homes purchased in their names.

Continue Reading New Complaint – Securities and Exchange Commission v. Lam, et al.

On August 31, 2022, Plaintiff Melanie E. Damian, in her capacity as the Court-Appointed Receiver for Today’s Growth Consultant, Inc. d/b/a The Income Store (“TGC”) (the “Receiver”) filed a complaint against Defendant Core Financial Outsourcing of Chicago (“Core Financial”) in the Northern District of Illinois (“Damian II”) seeking damages, injunctive relief, interest, and attorneys’ fees and costs. The complaint alleges five claims for professional negligence, aiding and abetting breach of fiduciary duty, unjust enrichment, and two violations of the Illinois Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act.

This action stems from a prior enforcement action seeking civil penalties and injunctive relief filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) against TGC and its founder, Kenneth D. Courtright, III (“Courtright”), based upon TGC and Courtright’s alleged violation of federal securities laws and operation of a website services Ponzi scheme.

We previously wrote about PLB Investments LLC et al v. Heartland Bank and Trust Co. et al., a related case initiated by various defrauded investors of TGC against two bank defendants that
Continue Reading New Complaint – Damian as Receiver of Today’s Growth Consultant, Inc. v. Core Financial Outsourcing of Chicago, LLC

U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission v. Giri, et al., was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio on August 11, 2022, claiming violations of several provisions of the Commodity Exchange Act and Commission Regulations. Specifically, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) seeks permanent injunctive relief against all Defendants, disgorgement, rescission, and civil penalties.

The CFTC brought this action against Rathnakishore Giri (“Giri”), SR Private Equity, LLC (“SR Private Equity”), NBD Eidetic Capital, LLC (“NBD Eidetic”), Giri Subramani (“Subramani”), and Loka Pavani Giri (“Pavani Giri”) (collectively, “Defendants”) who are alleged to have engaged in a fraudulent scheme to trade digital assets—mainly bitcoin—on behalf of investors. Defendant Giri is a controlling person of both Defendants NBD Eidetic, an Ohio limited liability company, and SR Private Equity, an Ohio limited liability company. Defendants Subramani and Pavani Giri are the parents of Defendant Giri.

The complaint alleges that starting in or around March 2019, Defendant Giri solicited
Continue Reading New Complaint – U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission v. Giri, et al.

Guo, et al. v. Robl, et al. was filed in the United States District Court for the Central District of California on August 8, 2022.  Plaintiffs assert claims of fraudulent inducement, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, civil racketeering under RICO, violations of the California Penal and Corporations Codes, violations of state securities laws, and breach of contract.  Plaintiffs request compensatory damages and equitable relief against defendant media production companies and related individuals and entities that allegedly induced investors into financing film projects that ultimately failed, leaving Plaintiffs with substantial losses.

Plaintiff Gosdom, Inc. (“Gosdom”) is a California corporation, and Plaintiff Vanessa Guo (“Guo”) is its Chief Executive Officer (collectively “Plaintiffs”). Defendants Kevin Robl (“Robl”) and Chris Bremble (“Bremble”) are principals and managers of Defendants Production Capital, LLC (“Production Capital”) and/or Chinese-based production company Base Media Technology Group Limited (“Base Media”), and Defendant Remington Chase (“Chase”) is the principal of Defendants Production House International, LLC (“Production House”) (collectively, “Enterprise Financing Defendants”). The remaining Defendants consist of American and Chinese filmmakers and media companies, California attorneys, and various entities based in California, Delaware, and Wyoming—all of which benefited from or were aware of the loan and investments used to finance the film projects.

The Enterprise Defendants are alleged to have engaged in a scheme to defraud
Continue Reading New Complaint – Guo, et al. v. Robl, et al.

Securities and Exchange Commission v. Okhotnikov was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on August 1, 2022, claiming violations of several provisions of the Securities Act and Securities Exchange Act in connection with offering and selling unregistered smart contracts operated on the Ethereum, Tron, and Binance blockchains. Specifically, the SEC seeks permanent injunctive relief against all Defendants in order to prevent future violations of the federal securities laws, disgorgement of any ill-gotten gains, and civil damages.

The SEC brought the enforcement action against Defendants Vladimir Okhotnikov (“Okhotnikov”), Jane Doe a/k/a Lola Ferrari (“Ferrari”), Mikail Sergeev (“Sergeev”), and Sergey Maslakov (“Maslakov”)—a set of Russia-based individuals who are alleged to have created, operated, and maintained an online pyramid and Ponzi scheme through smart contracts on various blockchains (collectively, the “Founder Defendants”)—and Defendants Samuel D. Ellis (“Ellis”), Mark F. Hamlin (“Hamlin”), and Sarah L. Theissen (“Theissen”) who are individuals alleged to have engaged in the promotion or sale of the smart contracts to investors within the United States (collectively, the “Promoter Defendants”).

The complaint alleges that in the fall of 2019, the Founder Defendants formed Forsage.io (“Forsage”), an unincorporated entity, for the purpose of coding smart contracts on various blockchains and building a website that would serve as an interface for the promotion and sale of the smart contracts. However, the complaint alleges that from January 2020 until the present, Defendants operated, promoted, and maintained an online pyramid and Ponzi scheme through Forsage, allowing millions of retail investors to enter into transactions via the sale of unregistered smart contracts maintained on the Ethereum, Tron, and Binance blockchains. To date, the transactions have totaled over $300 million.

Continue Reading New Complaint – SEC v. Vladimir Okhotnikov, et al.

Securities and Exchange Commission v. Alexandra Robert et al. was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida on July 26, 2022, claiming violations of several provisions of the Securities Act and Securities Exchange Act. Specifically, the SEC seeks permanent injunctive relief against all Defendants in order to prevent future violations of the federal securities laws, disgorgement of any ill-gotten gains, and civil damages.

The SEC brought this action against Defendants Alexandra Robert (“Robert”), the owner, founder, and CEO of Defendants Chalala Academy LLC (“Chalala”), a Florida limited liability company, and Lendvesting Academy Corp. (“Lendvesting”), a Florida-registered corporation formerly operating as a d/b/a of Chalala.

The complaint alleges from at least May 2020 through August 2021, Defendants fraudulently raised approximately $900,000 from roughly 80 investors, mostly Haitian and Haitian-Americans living in South Florida, by offering unregistered “investment programs” falsely promising guaranteed returns of up to 48%. Defendants falsely told investors that they would make interest generating loans to small businesses that would otherwise not qualify for traditional financing, thereby providing investors with high fixed returns.

Continue Reading New Complaint – SEC v. Alexandra Robert, et al.

McGuireWoods’ Ponzi Litigation team launched its Ponzi Perspectives blog in early 2021.  Since that time, our focus is to track key cases and decisions that have the potential to influence controlling law on Ponzi-related issues.  The blog also offers analysis on practical considerations when defending Ponzi litigation.  This 2022 mid-year round up summarizes the new

Securities and Exchange Commission v. Boron Capital, LLC et al. was filed in the Northern District Court of Texas, Lubbock Division on June 14, 2022, claiming violations of several provisions of the Securities Act and Securities Exchange Act. Specifically, the SEC seeks permanent injunctive relief against all Defendants to prevent future violations of the federal securities laws, disgorgement of any ill-gotten gains, and civil penalties.

The SEC brought this action against Boron Capital, LLC (“Boron”), BC Holdings 2017, LLC (“BC Holdings”), United BNB Fund 2018, LLC (“United”), and Blake Robert Templeton (“Templeton”) (collectively, “Defendants”).

Templeton founded Boron, a Nevada limited liability company, in order to operate a real estate business, and Templeton serves as its CEO and managing member. Templeton also controls Defendants United and BC Holdings. United is a Texas limited liability company formed by Templeton that operates as an investment fund managed by Boron. BC Holdings is a Wyoming limited liability company wholly owned by Templeton through which he offered and sold promissory notes in connection with his real estate business.  Templeton offered and sold securities to investors in three forms: (1) promissory notes issued by Defendant Boron; (2) investment units in Defendant United; and (3) promissory notes issued by Defendant BC Holdings.

Continue Reading New Complaint – SEC v. Boron Capital, LLC, et. al.

Conlan v. Alternative Asset Management Acquisition Corp. was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado on June 14, 2022, claiming Defendants illegally profited from violations of securities laws. The complaint seeks to avoid multiple actual and constructive fraudulent transfers.

Plaintiff is court-appointed substitute receiver Mark Conlan (the “Receiver”), serving as representative and fiduciary of the creditors of the defendants named in the action brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) captioned United States Securities and Exchange Commission v. Mediatrix Capital Inc., et al., No. 1:19-cv-02594-RM-SKC (the “SEC Action”).  Defendants Alternative Asset Management Acquisition Corp., Autumn Gold Service, Crown Financial Services, Crown Private Limited, Marta Nystrom, Mercury Alternative Fund, Patricia Velcich, Phenom Ventures, Ritossa Investment Holding Ltd., and Y Man Investments are brokers that allegedly received funds in connection with the foreign currency trading scheme at issue in the SEC Action.

The SEC Action names individuals Michael A. Young, Michael S. Stewart, and Bryant E. Sewall and entities Mediatrix Capital Inc. (“Mediatrix”), Blue Isle Markets Inc., and Blue Isle Markets Ltd. (collectively, the “Receivership Defendants”).

Continue Reading New Complaint – Conlan v. Alternative Asset Management Acquisition Corp.

On May 27, 2022, Plaintiff Melanie E. Damian, in her capacity as the Court-Appointed Receiver for Today’s Growth Consultant, Inc. d/b/a The Income Store (“TGC”) (the “Receiver”) filed a complaint against Defendant SmithAmundsen, LLC (“Defendant”) in the Northern District of Illinois seeking damages, restitution, interest, and costs.  Specifically, the complaint alleges two claims for legal malpractice and aiding and abetting breach of fiduciary duty.

This action stems from a prior action filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) against TGC and its founder, Kenneth D. Courtright, III (“Courtright”), wherein the SEC alleged TGC and Courtright violated federal securities laws and sought civil penalties and injunctive relief to halt their wrongful activity.

We previously wrote about PLB Investments LLC et al v. Heartland Bank and Trust Co. et al., a related case initiated by various defrauded investors of TGC against two bank defendants concerning TGC’s website services Ponzi scheme.

Continue Reading New Complaint – Damian, as Receiver of Today’s Growth Consultant, Inc. v. SmithAmundsen, LLC