On August 20, 2021, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission ("Commission" or "SEC" or “Plaintiff”), filed a civil enforcement action against John J. Woods, Livingston Group Asset Management Company, Inc. d/b/a Southport Capital ("Southport"), and Horizon Private Equity, III, LLC ("Horizon") (collectively, “Defendants”), seeking injunctive relief and disgorgement of all ill-gotten gains with prejudgment interest for the alleged Ponzi scheme of Defendants. This case was filed in the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Kentucky with Judge Danny C. Reeves presiding.
In the complaint Plaintiff alleged that, “John 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"). The Defendants' Ponzi scheme is ongoing and continues to raise money from new investors each month.”
Plaintiff further alleged that, “Woods and other investment adviser representatives at Southport 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 cohorts is at Southport generally told investors that Horizon would earn a return by investing their money. The assets owned by Woods and the entities under his control, including Southport and Horizon, are worth far too little for there to be any realistic prospect that the Ponzi scheme will be able to pay back existing investors their principal, let alone the promised returns. Investors trusted Woods and the Southport investment advisers working at his direction, and they stand to lose significant portions of their retirement savings when the Ponzi scheme inevitably collapses.”
Plaintiff also alleged that, “Defendant Southport, which is registered with the SEC as Livingston Group Asset Management Company, Inc., has more than $824,000,000 in client assets under management. As the President and majority owner of the firm, Woods has extensively used Southport's offices and employees to carry out his Ponzi scheme. Horizon is an entity that Woods used strictly for the purpose of raising money from investors in the Ponzi scheme. Because the scheme has been going on for so long, and because Woods, Southport, and Horizon did not use any of the typical recordkeeping practices one would expect from a legitimate investment fund, millions of dollars' worth of investor funds are currently unaccounted for.”
There are multiple claims for relief laid down by Plaintiff, six of them deal with the alleged fraud in violations of the Securities, Exchange, and Advisers Acts. Furthermore, there are two claims for relief which deals with the alleged aiding and abetting by Defendants.
In its prayer for relief Plaintiff has requested the court for a temporary restraining order and preliminary and permanent injunctions enjoining Defendants, an order requiring an accounting by Defendants of the amounts raised and the use of proceeds from the fraudulent conduct described in the complaint, and the disgorgement by Defendants of all ill-gotten gains or unjust enrichment with prejudgment interest. The plaintiff also requested the court for an order preventing Defendants from destroying or concealing documents. Plaintiff also requested the court to impose civil penalties on the Defendant along with such other and further relief as this court may deem just, equitable, and appropriate.
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Disposed - Other Disposed
Danny C. Reeves
Securities And Exchange Commission
John J. Woods
Livingston Group Asset Management Company doing business as Southport Capital
Horizon Private Equity, III, LLC
A. Cotten Wright
Letter to Clerk
NDGA Notice of Filing
DocketConflict Check run. (JER) (Entered: 09/10/2021)Read MoreRead Less
Docket(#1) ORDER. Signed by Judge Steven D. Grimberg on 09/01/2021. (Attachments: #1 NDGA Complaint, #2 NDGA Notice of Filing, #3 Letter to Clerk, #4 Receipt)(JER)cc: COR (Entered: 09/10/2021)Read MoreRead Less
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