The organization may have violated the anti-fraud provisions of federal securities laws after raising $1 billion from investors
Since November of 2016, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has been looking into the Woodbridge Group of Companies, based in Sherman Oaks, California. The real estate investment company – which owns or controls 235 limited liability companies (LLCs) around the U.S. – could be involved in the improper sale of securities, says the government agency.
In August, all 235 LLCs received subpoenas in an attempt by the SEC to get information about a variety of things, including managers and members, as well as payments that have been made to Woodbridge. The deadline to produce relevant documents was the end of August, but the SEC filing states that they did not get a sufficient response. Now the SEC is seeking a federal order to get the LLCs to comply. The emails accounts of executives and salespeople are also being sought.
Over the course of the investigation, it was discovered that there are “numerous LLCs that are interwoven into the structure of products Woodbridge offers for investment,” according to the SEC. “Specifically, the Commission is investigating the offer and sale of unregistered securities, the sale of securities by unregistered brokers and the commission of fraud in connection with the offer, purchase and sale of securities.”
Woodbridge – along with president Robert Shapiro – denies any wrongdoing. A spokesperson says the firm is cooperating and has sent millions of documents to the SEC.
This wasn’t the first time Woodbridge has been under scrutiny. Recently the company entered into settlements with several states. Arizona, Massachusetts, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Texas all allege that the company sold unregistered securities, didn’t offer investors required information, and in some cases defrauded investors by not offering full disclosure.
In 2015, Massachusetts and Texas accused the company of selling unregistered securities. In both instances, cease-and-desist orders were issued. The Arizona Corporation Commission also charged Woodbridge with selling unregistered securities and fraud by not disclosing the alleged violations in the other states.
In early 2017, the Department of Banking and Securities in Pennsylvania accused Woodbridge of using an unregistered agent to sell securities. Then in August, the Michigan Corporations, Securities and Commercial Licensing Bureau found that Woodbridge had sold mortgages that were not registered. Another cease-and-desist order was issued.
The Silver Law Group is investigating the Woodbridge Group of Companies
In addition to the SEC, Woodbridge is also being investigated by the Silver Law Group. We are looking into the veracity and extent of the company’s activities and how many investors may have been affected. If you are a current investor or were at one time and you lost money, you may be able to reclaim it.
For a free consultation from an experienced securities fraud attorney, get in touch with the Silver Law Group. Because we work on a contingency fee basis, we are only paid if we are successful at recovering your money. You can call us toll-free at 800-975-4345 or just send us a message through our online contact form.