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Editor: Eric C. Chaffee
Univ. of Toledo College of Law

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

SEC Obtains Temporary Relief Against Alleged Ponzi Scheme

The federal district court for the Western District of New York granted the SEC's motion for preliminary injunction and other relief against defendants Watermark Financial Services Group, Inc. ("Watermark Financial"), Watermark M-One Holdings, Inc. ("Watermark Holdings"), M-One Financial Services, LLC ("M-One"), Watermark Capital Group, LLC ("Watermark Capital"), Guy W. Gane, Jr., and Lorenzo Altadonna. The SEC's complaint, filed on May 15, 2008, alleges that from at least May 2005 to the present, Gane and M-One orchestrated a securities offering fraud that has raised at least $5.7 million from approximately 90 investors, including a number of senior citizens, through the sale of debentures and promissory notes issued by the various entity defendants. Gane is a principal of each of the issuing entities. The complaint further alleges that the defendants told investors that their money would be used to purchase or develop real estate, but instead Gane: (i) used new investor funds to pay back earlier investors; (ii) misappropriated investors' funds by using them to pay himself, his family, and others; and (iii) transferred substantial portions of investor funds to Denkon, Inc., Guy W. Gane, III, and Jenna Gane for no apparent consideration. In addition, the complaint alleges that the debentures offering was not registered with the Commission and that Gane violated the broker-dealer registration provisions of the federal securities laws.

Entered on June 18, 2008, the court's order continues in place various forms of interim relief initially ordered by the court on May 16, 2008, when the court granted the Commission's application for a temporary restraining order and other relief to halt the fraud orchestrated by Gane and the other defendants. The litigation is pending.

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