March 22, 2011
SEC BRINGS FRAUD CHARGES IN SILICON VALLEY REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT SCHEME
The SEC charged Calif.-based JSW Financial Inc. and five officers for defrauding investors in two real estate funds, alleging that the firm used investor funds to prop up the officers’ own failing real estate development projects while concealing the loss of $17 million of investors’ money. The SEC alleges that from 2002 to 2008, JSW and its predecessor, Jim Ward & Associates (JWA), created two real estate investment funds – Blue Chip Realty Fund and Shoreline Investment Fund – and told investors that their money would be used to make loans secured by residential real estate. In reality, according to the SEC, the firms’ officers used most of the money to make unsecured and undocumented loans to entities that the officers themselves controlled, which were suffering mounting losses and protracted delays on Silicon Valley real estate development projects. Meanwhile, as the enterprise collapsed, investors continued receiving monthly statements showing steady growth in the value of their portfolios.
The SEC’s complaint seeks injunctive relief and disgorgement of ill-gotten gains against JSW, Ward, Lee, Locker, Tipton and Lin, as well as monetary penalties against the five officers. The complaint also seeks disgorgement of ill-gotten gains and appointment of a receiver over Blue Chip and Shoreline as relief defendants.
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