SEC Charges Newport Beach Company and Its Principals with Operating a $13.5 Million Ponzi-Like Scheme.
The SEC sued BNZ, a Newport Beach, California-based company, and its co-founders and co-managers Brett Barber and Louis Zimmerle with defrauding over 100 retail investors of $13.5 million.
The SEC alleges that since June 2019, BNZ, Barber, and Zimmerle have raised $13.5 million from retail investors by telling them BNZ was in the business of investing in real estate and alternative assets and guaranteeing them high returns, often 10% per year.
The defendants allegedly invested approximately $6.4 million of the $13.5 million collected from investors in real estate and alternative ventures, netting only $300,000.
The defendants allegedly paid investors at least $1.7 million in returns using monies acquired from other investors in a Ponzi-like scheme, and transferred over $1.6 million to Barber via his company, Guaranteed Income Solutions Inc., and over $700,000 to Zimmerle.
The defendants allegedly misled investors about the source of investor returns, among other things.
Barber allegedly deceived investors by hyping his finance degree and investment experience without disclosing that he was forbidden from affiliating with any member firm by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.
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