Friday, December 7, 2012
The SEC charged Claudio Osorio, whom it describes as a prominent Miami-based entrepreneur, with defrauding investors by grossly exaggerating the financial success of his company that purportedly produced housing materials to withstand fires and hurricanes. Instead, Osorio allegedly stole nearly half of the money raised from investors to pay the mortgage on his multi-million dollar mansion and other lavish highlife expenses.
The SEC alleges that Osorio, who is a former Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award winner, raised at least $16.8 million from investors by portraying InnoVida Holdings LLC as having millions of dollars more in cash and equity than it actually did. Osorio sometimes solicited investors one-on-one at political fundraising events. To add an air of legitimacy to his company, Osorio assembled a high-profile board of directors that included a former governor of Florida, a lobbyist, and a major real estate developer. Osorio falsely told a potential investor he had invested tens of millions of dollars of his own money as InnoVida's largest stakeholder, and he hyped a Middle Eastern sovereign wealth fund investment as a ruse to solicit additional funds from investors.
The SEC also charged InnoVida's chief financial officer Craig Toll, a certified public accountant living in Pembroke Pines, Fla., who helped Osorio create the false financial picture of InnoVida.
In a parallel action, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida today announced criminal charges against Osorio and Toll.