Lawsuits target Horizon Private Equity and John J. Woods Ponzi scheme
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, December 21, 2021 /24-7PressRelease/ — The Wolper Law Firm has filed multiple arbitration claims with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) on behalf of victims of the alleged Ponzi scheme perpetrated by John J. Woods, a former Financial Advisor at Oppenheimer & Co., Inc. The claims seek damages for clients who were victimized through the Horizon Private Equity, III Fund.
The Ponzi scheme was estimated to have defrauded 400 investors out of more than $110 million. It was orchestrated by John J. Woods and his investment advisory firm, Livingston Group Asset Management d/b/a Southport Capital, utilizing the fund known as Horizon Private Equity, III, LLC. If you are one of the impacted investors, please contact the Wolper Law Firm at 800.931.8452. This is a public service announcement.
The claims filed by Wolper Law Firm state that John Woods engaged in the unlawful practice of “selling away” for nearly ten years while employed and registered with Oppenheimer, in violation of FINRA Rules 3270 and 3280. “Selling away” means a broker solicits clients to purchase securities not officially offered or held by the executing brokerage firm and for which due diligence has not been completed. This is illegal.
Woods did not initially disclose his involvement in the Horizon Fund to Oppenheimer and, hence, Horizon and other funds were “undisclosed” Outside Business Activities (and Outside Securities Activities) of Woods. However, a reasonable examination or audit by Oppenheimer would have clearly uncovered Woods’ affiliation with these funds. Oppenheimer did not disclose these compliance failures to regulators and later allowed Woods to resign rather than be fired for wrongdoing.
On August 20, 2021, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a Complaint against John J. Woods, Livingston Group Asset Management Company d/b/a Southport Capital, and Horizon Private Equity, III, LLC. The Complaint was filed in the United States District Court, Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division. A copy of the Complaint can be accessed by clicking here.
According to the SEC Complaint:
“John J. Woods has been running a massive Ponzi scheme for over a decade. As of the end of July 2021, investors in the Ponzi scheme were owed over $110,000,000 in principal. There are more than 400 investors, residing in at least 20 different states, who currently hold investments in the Ponzi scheme, which goes by the name Horizon Private Equity, III, LLC (“Horizon”). Many of the victims are elderly retirees who were preyed upon by investment advisers at Livingston Group Asset Management Company d/b/a Southport Capital (“Southport”), a registered investment adviser firm owned and controlled by Woods. The Defendants’ Ponzi scheme is ongoing and continues to raise money from new investors each month.”
What makes this Ponzi scheme unique is that John J. Woods and his cohorts, Michael Mooney, James Woods, and Arthur Brown, were former Financial Advisors of Oppenheimer & Co., in its Atlanta branch office.
During the time period that they were employed and registered with Oppenheimer, John J. Woods began soliciting clients to invest in the Horizon Private Equity, III, LLC under the guise that the investment was being offered by Oppenheimer.
Investors were lulled into a false sense of security that Oppenheimer conducted due diligence regarding the investment and ensured the protection of principal. Of course, Horizon Private Equity, III, LLC was not offered and sold by Oppenheimer. This unlawful practice is known as “selling away,” and is prohibited.
There are legal remedies for investors harmed by this Ponzi scheme. Attorney Matt Wolper suggests they consult with lawyers who have experience helping investors recoup losses in similar schemes.
The Wolper Law Firm represents investors nationwide in securities litigation and arbitration on a contingency fee basis. Matt Wolper, the Managing Principal of the Wolper Law Firm, is a trial lawyer who has handled hundreds of securities cases during his career involving a wide range of products, strategies, and securities. Prior to representing investors, he was a partner with a national law firm, where he represented some of the largest banks and brokerage firms in the world in securities matters. He can be reached at 800.931.8452 or by email at [email protected].
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