The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are currently representing investors who have been the victim of the Horizon Private Equity III, LLC (Horizon) scam. Recently, the SEC has alleged that approximately 400 investors in Horizon were defrauded in a Ponzi scheme fashion out of over $110 million. A number of Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. (Oppenheimer) advisors were involved in the scam including Horizon’s chief architect and mastermind John J. Woods (CRD# 1949233) and his families members including broth James Wallace Woods Jr. (CRD# 734272), and cousin Michael Jeremiah Mooney (CRD# 4037101).
Woods and his cohorts used and abused their trusted positions as financial advisors to solicit Horizon to their clients making claims that Horizon was a safe investment that generated 6-7% guaranteed returns, had a guaranteed rate of return, carried little risk and were extremely safe and conservative, and that the Horizon investment was sponsored or offered by Oppenheimer. In reality, Horizon was a fraudulent venture that repaid old investors with funds raised from new investors. Horizon had few to no risk disclosures and failed to provide investors with information as to the nature of the funds’ holdings or other information that investors should have been provided with. When the SEC investigated Horizon III, the regulator found that by July 2021, Horizon III had liquid assets worth less than $16 million and had only invested $20 million in dubious small real estate projects.
Our firm is representing clients who have alleged that Oppenheimer permitted Woods and his co-conspirators to perpetrate this fraudulent scheme while turning a blind eye to numerous signs of fraud. Our firm’s investigation has revealed that Woods has been under almost continuous litigation concerning his outside business activities since at least 2007. Further, Oppenheimer was subpoenaed to produce documents and records relating to Woods’ outside business dealings in at least on litigation where Woods was accused of defrauding an investor to provide capital for one of Woods’ many businesses. In addition, court records reveal that Woods stated under oath that his failed business ventures left him personally liable for loans totaling over $6 million.