Soreide Law Group is investigating claims that Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. allegedly failed to supervise their brokers, allowing them to operate an alleged Ponzi scheme, devised by former Oppenheimer registered representative, John Woods of Marietta, Georgia. This alleged Ponzi scheme was called Horizon Private Equity III and was operated through John Woods’ firm Southport Capital. The SEC claims that John Woods allegedly perpetrated this Ponzi scheme from 2008 to 2016 and alleges that John Woods convinced investors, many of them elderly, to invest $110 million in this fraud.
According to the reports, John Woods allegedly solicited a large number of clients from Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. to invest in Horizon Private Equity III while Woods was registered as a broker and investment advisor with Oppenheimer. These investors were allegedly told Horizon Private Equity III was a low-risk investment that would give them 6-7% returns. John Woods and other Oppenheimer brokers allegedly told their clients that they would receive returns by investing in government bonds, stocks or real estate projects. Horizon allegedly did not earn any significant profits from the investments, and according to reports, paid returns by raising money from new investors. By 2016, the fund had only $16 million of the $110 million it raised.
In a July of 2021 SEC Complaint, it stated that over 400 investors in Horizon Private Equity III from 20 states were owed over $110 million. According to the SEC, many of these investors are elderly.
According to an article in Financial Advisor, on August 24, 2021, a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order and froze the assets of John Woods of Marietta, Ga., after the SEC filed an emergency action in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. The SEC is also pursuing civil fraud charges against John Woods and his two entities: registered investment advisor Livingston Group Asset Management Company, which does business as Southport Capital, and investment fund Horizon Private Equity III LLC.
When brokerage firms fail to supervise their brokers’ outside activities, they can be held liable. They have an obligation to the clients to supervise their registered representatives.
If you or an elderly family member invested in Horizon Private Equity III, through the recommendations of former Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. of Atlanta, Georgia, broker, John Woods, or others, contact Soreide Law Group and speak to an experienced securities lawyer at no cost regarding the possible recovery of your financial losses through a FINRA arbitration at: 888-760-6552.
Soreide Law Group works on a contingency fee basis and represents our clients nationwide before FINRA.