Securities Law Prof Blog

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

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

SEC Freezes Assets of Minnesota Adviser in Alleged Foreign Currency Trading Scheme

On March 8, 2011, the SEC obtained an emergency court order freezing the assets of Jason Bo-Alan Beckman and his registered investment advisory firm Oxford Private Client Group, LLC, for their role in a massive foreign currency trading scheme that raised at least $194 million from nearly 1,000 investors. The court also entered a freeze order against the assets of Beckman’s wife, Hollie Beckman, who also received investor funds. In addition, the court issued an order appointing a receiver over all of these assets.

The SEC alleges that Beckman and Oxford Private Client Group raised at least $47.3 million from at least 143 investors from August 2006 to July 2009 through a fraudulent, unregistered offering of investments in a purported foreign currency trading venture (the “Currency Program”). According to the SEC’s complaint, Beckman told investors that each investor’s money would be invested in the Currency Program, their money would be held in a segregated account, there was little or no risk to their money, they would receive guaranteed returns ranging from 10.5% to 12% per year, and they could withdraw their money at any time. The SEC alleges that these representations were false. According to the SEC’s complaint, a significant portion of the investors’ funds were never invested in the Currency Program but instead were used to make purported interest and return of principal payments to other investors and also diverted to Beckman and others’ personal accounts. Beckman and his wife Hollie Beckman received approximately $7.7 million of investor funds. None of the funds was ever placed in segregated accounts at banks or foreign currency trading firms and the funds sent to the trading firms sustained significant losses.

In addition to the emergency relief already obtained, the complaint seeks preliminary and permanent injunctions, disgorgement, and civil penalties from the defendants.

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