On December19, 2018, the SEC announced charges against an additional 13 individuals and 10 companies for unlawfully selling securities of Woodbridge Group of Companies LLC to retail investors. Woodbridge collapsed into bankruptcy in December 2017, and the SEC previously charged the company, its owner and others with operating a $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme and charged five of the top Florida-based sales agents for securities and broker-dealer registration violations.
The 13 individual defendants charged were among Woodbridge’s top revenue producers, selling more than $350 million of its unregistered securities to more than 4,400 investors. According to the complaints, the defendants marketed Woodbridge’s securities as a “safe” and “secure” investment and reaped millions of dollars in commissions on their sales even though they were not registered as, or associated with, registered broker-dealers. The SEC also alleged that defendant Jordan Goodman, a self-described “media influencer,” touted Woodbridge without disclosing that he was paid to do so.
In its latest actions, the SEC is seeking court-ordered injunctions, return of allegedly ill-gotten gains with interest, and financial penalties against Robert S. “Lute” Davis, Jr., Donald Anthony Mackenzie, Jordan E. Goodman (“Goodman”), Aaron R. Andrew, Jeffrey L. Wendel, Alan H. New (“New”), David N. Knuth (“Knuth”), Randy T. Rondberg, Richard Fritts, Marcus Bradford Bray, Gregory W. Anderson, Claude Steven Mosley, Gregory A. Koch, and their companies Old Security Financial Group Inc., Paramount Financial Services Inc., d/b/a Live Abundant, Wendel Financial Network LLC, Synergy Investment Services LLC, Trager LLC, Fritts Financial LLC, Bradford Solutions LLC, Balanced Financial Inc., Security Financial LLC, and Koch Insurance Brokers LLC.
Goodman settled the SEC’s charges without admitting or denying the allegations and agreed to disgorgement of $2.29 million plus prejudgment interest of $315,850 and a $100,000 penalty, and to be subject to an injunction and industry and penny stock bars. Synergy Investment Services, New, and Knuth settled the SEC’s charges without admitting or denying the allegations with the court to determine disgorgement, interest, and penalties at a later date.
The SEC also announced that it reached settlements in its previously filed action against Florida-based sales agents Barry M. Kornfeld, Ferne Kornfeld, and Albert D. Klager (“Klager”). Without admitting or denying the allegations, the three agreed to a permanent injunction and industry and penny-stock bars. The Kornfelds agreed to disgorgement of $3.69 million plus $690,497 in prejudgment interest. Additionally, Barry Kornfeld agreed to a $500,000 penalty, and Ferne Kornfeld agreed to a $150,000 penalty. Klager agreed to $1.36 million in disgorgement, $278,908 in prejudgment interest, and a $100,000 penalty.