The Securities and Exchange Commission filed securities fraud charges against five Florida residents last month. The group illegally sold securities of a Sherman Oaks real estate investment firm.
The firm, Woodbridge Group, filed for bankruptcy in December 2017. The SEC alleges that the firm operated as a Ponzi scheme. At one time, the scheme involved more than a billion dollars of investor money. The five Florida defendants were among the company’s top sales people but were not registered brokers. Investigators say that the small group sold nearly $250 million of unregistered securities to about 1,600 investors. They also collected millions in commissions on the sales of the phony securities.
Woodbridge owned several signature properties in the Los Angeles area, including the former home of singers Sonny and Cher. The company also owns prime properties in Mount Olympus, Hidden Hills, Bel Air, Beverly Hills and Holmby Hills.
The defendants conducted real estate investing and financial planning classes in Florida that targeted retirement investors. They also placed newspaper and radio ads promoting investment in Woodbridge. The company’s bankruptcy settlement is addressing the issue of property ownership. Earlier this year, the company sought bids from local real estate brokers to sell its entire property portfolio. Property sales are unlikely to recoup all of the investors’ funds, since Woodbridge developed a reputation for overpaying for properties.
Sherman Oaks securities fraud attorney
Investment fraud can carry serious penalties. In addition to civil penalties, criminal convictions can result in prison terms of up to 20 years. When you face securities fraud charges, hire an experienced securities fraud attorney like Robert Helfend.
Mr. Helfend has more than 30 years of experience in criminal courtroom defense. He takes federal cases in any US circuit. He also takes state cases in courts in Southern California.
Securities fraud cases often generate a lot of interest because they can involve high dollar amounts. The most important element to remember is not the amount of the fraud but the experience of your defense attorney. Don’t rely on inexperience. Choose an attorney who will aggressively defend you in court.
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.