Notable litigation filed during August 2023 includes: (1) SEC v. Rocha; (2) Legum v. Garfinkel, et al.; and (3) SEC v. Conn. Jr.

SEC v. Rocha, No. 1:23-cv-11779-LTS (D. Mass.)

The SEC filed suit against the schemer defendant for losses arising from an alleged Ponzi wherein the defendant promised to invest the

Notable litigation filed during June 2023 includes: (1) Bowman v. Unibank; (2) SEC v. Baston; (3) Hafen v. Guyon, et al.; (4) SEC v. Royal Bengal Logistics, et al.; (5) Decimal Capital Partners v. Benavente; and (6) Agri Capital v. Soberal, et al.

Bowman v. Unibank, No. 2:23-cv-00971-JCC (W.D.

Notable litigation filed during May 2023 includes: (1) SEC v. Bartlett; (2) SEC v. Griffin; (3) Warrow v. Turnipseede; and (4) Commodity Future Trading Commission v. Galles.

SEC v. Bartlett, Case No. 8:23-cv-00765 (C.D. Cal.)

The SEC filed suit against defendant schemers in California federal court for an alleged scheme

McGuireWoods’ Ponzi Litigation team launched its Ponzi Perspectives blog in early 2021. Since that time, we’ve posted detailed case alerts of Ponzi-related complaints filed throughout the country and posted key decisions that have the potential to influence controlling law on Ponzi-related issues involving financial institutions. This 2022 year-end round up summarizes the cases and opinions analyzed

With a new decision settling the issue, businesses run the risk of being held liable for the conduct of their customers with the potential for increased Ponzi scheme related litigation following the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s approval of a cause of action for aiding and abetting fraud. Continue Reading Pennsylvania Supreme Court Recognizes a New Cause of Action Against Those Who Aid and Abet Fraud

SEC v. JMJ Capital Group and Richard Lee Ramirez is a Securities Exchange Commission (“SEC”) enforcement action filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of California on September 30, 2022.  JMJ Capital Group (“JMJ”) is a California corporation and Richard Lee Ramirez (“Ramirez”) is the owner and sole operator of JMJ

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”), 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.