The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) brought charges against Veros Partners, Inc. (Veros), an Indianapolis investment adviser, Matthew Haab (Haab), and two associates, attorney Jeffrey Risinger (Risinger) and Tobin Senefeld (Senefeld), fraudulently raised at least $15 million from at least 80 investors, most of whom were Veros advisory clients for the purposes of engaging in two fraudulent farm loan offerings. The SEC alleged the defendants made ponzi scheme payments to investors in other offerings and paid themselves hundreds of thousands of dollars in undisclosed fees. The SEC obtained a temporary restraining order and an asset freeze in order to put a stop to the scheme.
According to the complaint in each offering the investors purchased securities issued in 2013, by Veros Farm Loan Holding LLC (VFLH) and in 2014, by FarmGrowCap LLC (FarmGrowCap). VFLH and FarmGrowCap are controlled and operated by Haab and two associates, Risinger and Senefeld. The investors in the two offerings were informed, orally and in writing by Haab, and in the written offering documents, that investor funds would be used to make short-term operating loans to farmers for the 2013 and 2014 growing seasons. However, the SEC found that contrary to these representations significant portions of the loan proceeds were not used for current farming operations but were used to cover the farms’ prior unpaid debt.
In addition, the SEC alleged that Haab, Risinger, and Senefeld used money from the offerings to make at least $7 million in payments to investors in other offerings and to pay themselves over $800,000 in undisclosed “success” and “interest rate spread” fees. The SEC also has complained that the defendants repeatedly misled investors about the risks, nature, and performance of the investments and underlying farm loans.