SEC charges Southport Capital with Ponzi Scheme through Horizon Private Equity Fund III LLC
According to The Securities and Exchange Commission on August 20, the regulator has charged John J. Woods, Livingston Group Asset Management Company d/b/a Southport Capital, and Horizon Private Equity, III, LLC, alleging that Woods has been running a massive Ponzi scheme for over a decade. Investors in the Ponzi scheme were owed over $110,000,000 in principal.
The SEC states in its complaint that at least 400 investors, in more than 20 states invested in Horizon Private Equity Fund III, many of them elderly retirees who were allegedly “preyed upon” by investment advisers at Southport, a registered investment adviser firm allegedly owned and controlled by Woods.
The alleged Ponzi scheme is ongoing and continues to raise money from new investors each month, according to the complaint. Woods and other investment adviser representatives at Southport purportedly told clients that they would receive returns of 6-7% interest, guaranteed for two to three years, for non-specific investments in a fund called “Horizon Private Equity.”
Woods and his associates at Southport purportedly misled investors to believe that Horizon would earn a return by investing in government bonds, stocks, or small real estate projects; instead, the investors’ money was purportedly used to pay returns to earlier investors.
Woods, Southport, and Horizon allegedly did not use any of the typical recordkeeping practices, leaving millions of dollars’ worth of investor funds currently unaccounted for. Further, Woods assets were allegedly far too little to cover investors principal, much less the promised returns.
On Aug. 24, 2021, after the SEC filed an emergency action to stop the fraudulent Ponzi scheme, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia granted a temporary restraining order and asset freeze with respect to defendants Woods and Horizon and ordered expedited discovery with respect to Southport, among other relief. The complaint seeks preliminary and permanent injunctions, disgorgement, prejudgment interest, civil penalties, an asset freeze, and the appointment of a receiver.
According to Woods’ FINRA broker report, he was affiliated at the following firms, among others:
If you suffered losses investing with Horizon Private Equity III, the attorneys at The White Law Group may be able to help you. For a free consultation, with a securities attorney please call (888) 637-5510.
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The White Law Group, LLC is a national securities fraud, securities arbitration, investor protection, and securities regulation/compliance law firm with offices in Chicago, Illinois.