DeCoster v. One Seven d/b/a We Are One Seven, J Wellington Financial, LLC, and Jason Jodway was filed in the Circuit Court for the County of Macomb, Michigan on January 28, 2022, seeking damages and equitable relief along with interest, costs, and attorneys’ fees for claims of negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, and negligent supervision.

Plaintiffs Michelle and Lawrence DeCoster are individuals who allegedly fell victim to a Ponzi scheme perpetrated by Heartland Group Ventures, LLC and its affiliates (“Heartland”).  Defendant Jason Jodway (“Jodway”) is alleged to have advised the Plaintiffs to invest in the scheme, and Defendants One Seven d/b/a We are One Seven (“One Seven”) and J Wellington Financial, LLC (“Wellington”) are purportedly liable for the actions of Jodway as their agent, though Jodway’s connection to Wellington is not clear.

According to the complaint, Heartland raised approximately $122 million from more than 700 investors nationwide under the guise that that the money would be used to repair existing oil wells or drill new wells in Texas.  Heartland raised the money through five unregistered securities offerings consisting of three debt funds and two equity funds.  According to the SEC’s prior civil complaint filed December 1, 2021, Heartland used more than $26 million to make Ponzi-like payments to debt fund investors and sent more than $54 million to other entities who further misused the money to purchase a private jet, a helicopter, and real estate in the Bahamas.

Plaintiffs claim that Jodway approached them in 2019 and 2021 about investing in the Heartland scheme, all while he was affiliated with One Seven, and that they invested $875,000 based on his misrepresentations.  Jodway purportedly advised the Plaintiffs that they would make a 20-25% return on their investment and otherwise spoke favorably of Heartland, but failed to disclose that they were high-risk, illiquid investments and that the defendants would be receiving large commissions in return.

The complaint asserts a claim for negligence and breach of fiduciary duty against all Defendants and negligent supervision against One Seven as it relates to Jodway’s conduct.  Plaintiffs seek rescission of their investment as well as to recover damages such as benefit of the bargain losses, lost opportunity costs, model portfolio damages, attorneys’ fees, costs, and interest.