Securities and Exchange Commission v. Minuskin, et al. was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of California on April 8, 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 Julie Minuskin (“Minuskin”), Dennis DiRicco (“DiRicco”), Thomas Casey (“Casey”), Golden Genesis, Inc. (“Golden Genesis”), and Joshua Stoll (“Stoll”) (collectively “Defendants”).  According to the complaint, Defendant Minuskin created Retire Happy LLC (“Retire Happy”), a Nevada limited liability company, which specialized in self-directed IRAs and provided financial education on how to leverage retirement accounts and create passive income by promoting self-directed retirement accounts. Defendant DiRicco was the Chief Financial Officer and board member of Defendant Golden Genesis and the managing member of non-party Until Tomorrow LLC (“Until Tomorrow”). Defendant Casey is the majority owner, Chief Executive Officer, and board member of Defendant Golden Genesis. Defendant Stoll was an account specialist at Retire Happy.

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Securities Exchange Commission v. David J. Bunevacz et al. was filed in the United States District Court for the Central District of California on April 5, 2022, seeking an injunctive relief, disgorgement, and civil penalties. Specifically, the complaint alleges violations of federal securities laws, including Sections 10(b) and 10b-5 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Sections 17(a), 5(a) and 5(c) of the Securities Act of 1933.

The SEC brought this enforcement action against David J. Bunevacz (“Bunevacz”) and two entities under his control, Caesarbrutus LLC and CB Holding Group Corp., along with his stepdaughter Mary Hayca Bunevacz (“Mary Hayca”).  Bunevacz and his entities are engaged in the production and sale of cannabis products, particularly “vape” pens infused with Cannabidiol (“CBD”).

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Chan v. Anthony, et al. was filed in the District Court for Denver County, Colorado on March 1, 2022, asserting claims under the Colorado Securities Act for securities fraud, investment advisor fraud, unlicensed broker/dealer activity, unlicensed investment adviser activity, and unregistered securities.

Tung Chan (“Chan”), Colorado’s Securities Commissioner, brought this action against Defendant David Anthony (“Anthony”) and nine unlicensed investment companies that he owned and operated (collectively with Anthony, the “Defendants”).  Chan also included Anthony’s wife as a relief defendant to claw back funds from the scheme used for the Anthonys’ personal expenses.

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McGuireWoods’ Ponzi Litigation team launched its Ponzi Perspectives blog in early 2021 to track key decisions and new cases in Ponzi civil and criminal litigation.  Ponzi Perspectives focuses on cases and decisions that have the potential to influence controlling law on Ponzi-related issues.  The blog also offers analysis of key decisions and practical considerations when

Securities and Exchange Commission v. Swapnil J. Rege and SwapStar Capital, LLC was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey on October 26, 2021, claiming the defendants violated the Investment Advisors Act by engaging in fraudulent or deceptive conduct upon an advisory client and charging Rege with violating a 2019 SEC Order barring him from associating with an investment adviser.

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Securities and Exchange Commission v. BNZ One Capital, LLC, et al. was filed in the United States District Court for the Central District of California on October 28, 2021 claiming Defendants violated the antifraud provisions of the Securities Act,  the Securities Exchange Act,  and Rule 10b-5 thereunder, as well as the registration provisions of the Securities Act. The SEC also brings claims against individual Defendants Barber and Zimmerle for violations of the broker-dealer registration provisions of the Exchange Act and accuses them of being secondarily liable for BNZ’s fraud as control persons pursuant to the Exchange Act.

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Securities and Exchange Commission v. Woods, Livingston Group Asset Management Company d/b/a Southport Capital, and Horizon Private Equity, III, LLC was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia on August 20, 2021. The SEC alleges that Defendants defrauded investors, many of whom were elderly, with illusory promises of guaranteed returns for their investment in the Defendants’ affiliated fund.

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SEC v. Bullard, et al. is a new complaint filed by the SEC in the District of Minnesota on August 27, 2021.  The complaint alleges Jason Dodd Bullard and his wife Angela Romero-Bullard (the “Bullards”), the owners of Bullard Enterprises LLC (collectively “Defendants”), defrauded around 200 investors of approximately $17.6 million as part of a Ponzi scheme where the Bullards falsely claimed investors funds would be used to trade foreign currencies. The complaint alleges Defendants violated Section 17(a) of the Securities Act and Section 10(b) and Rule 10-b-5 of the Securities Exchange Act.

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Securities and Exchange Commission v. MJ Capital Funding, LLC, et al. was filed in the United States District Court, Southern District of Florida on August 9, 2021, claiming that defendant Johanna M. Garcia ran a Ponzi scheme using her companies and co-defendants, MJ Capital Funding, LLC and MJ Taxes and More, Inc., to trick investors into believing they were funding loans to small businesses, when in reality, the investors’ “returns” were funded with money obtained by new investors.

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SEC v. The Estate of Kenneth J. Casey is a case filed by the SEC in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California on June 2, 2021, claiming that Kenneth Casey (“Casey”), the founder of Professional Financial Investors, Inc. (“PFI”), a real estate investment and management company, personally misappropriated over $10 million from investors as part of a scheme where Casey falsely told investors that their money would be used to invest in multi-unit residential and commercial real estate. Specifically, the complaint alleges that Casey violated 10(b) of the Exchange Act [15 U.S.C. § 78j(b)] and Rule 10b-5, and Section 17(a) of the Securities Act [15 U.S.C. § 77q(a)].

According to the complaint, Casey’s fraudulent scheme began to unravel shortly after his death, when questions arose about the solvency of PFI and one of Casey’s other companies, PISF. The SEC had previously filed an action against the president of PFI for his role in a fraudulent scheme to misappropriate funds from investors.

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