Friday, September 7, 2012
The SEC announced an asset freeze against a San Diego-based firm and its owner accused of running a real estate investment fraud that raised approximately $50 million from hundreds of investors nationwide. The SEC alleges that Western Financial Planning Corporation and Louis V. Schooler sold units in partnerships that Western had organized to buy vacant land in Nevada and hold for sale at a profit at a later date. Schooler and Western failed to tell investors that they were paying an exorbitant mark-up on the land, in some cases more than five times its fair market value. Schooler and Western also failed to tell investors that the land held by the partnerships was often encumbered by mortgages that Western used to help finance the initial purchase of the land.
The Honorable Larry A. Burns for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California yesterday granted the SEC’s request for a temporary restraining order and asset freeze against Schooler, Western, and all entities under Western’s control, and appointed Thomas C. Hebrank as a temporary receiver over Western and the entities. Judge Burns has scheduled a court hearing for Sept. 17, 2012, on the SEC’s motion for a preliminary injunction.