A Utah resident was indicted by federal authorities for his role in a long-running securities fraud . 50 of the victims in the investment scam are Southern California residents.
Shawn Patrick Watkins, 46, offered investments in a firm known as the Equity Growth Group between 2007 and 2014. Watkins found investors at investment workshops he offered in local hotels. During the workshops, Watkins portrayed himself as a real estate investment expert, and a former police officer, in order to gain the trust of prospective investors.
Watkins told victims that the company owned thousands of rental-income properties, and that if they invested, they would receive substantial interest payments. In reality, the “investment” opportunity was a Ponzi scheme, which took new investors’ money to pay existing investors. Investigators believe that Watkins may have been involved in other similar investment frauds that targeted investors in other areas of the state.
At the time of his arrest, Watkins was accused of collecting more than $3.5 million from investors in the The Equity Growth Group (TEGG) scam. He has been charged with four counts of mail fraud, two counts of wire fraud and two counts of money laundering. If convicted on all charges, Watkins could face as much as 180 years in federal prison.
Los Angeles Securities Fraud Attorney
If you’ve been charged with securities fraud, or any other type of investment fraud in either federal or state court, hiring an experienced securities fraud attorney is your best defense strategy. Federal prosecutions are complex, and you need an attorney who has significant experience in defending clients in federal court.
Robert Helfend has more than 30 years of experience exclusively in criminal defense, and takes cases in Los Angeles County, throughout Southern California and in all federal circuits. Don’t risk your freedom on inexperienced defense counsel.
Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (310) 456-3317, (818) 591-2809 or (805) 273-5611 for an immediate consultation on your Los Angeles County securities fraud case.
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