Investor Alert - Notice to Investors in the Woodbridge Group of Companies
In late December of 2017 the Securities Exchange Commission (“SEC”) filed a lawsuit in federal court in Miami, FL alleging fraud and seeking an asset freeze against Robert H. Shapiro and the Woodbridge Group of Companies, formerly headquartered in Boca Raton, FL.
The SEC contends that Shapiro of Sherman Oaks, CA, owned and controlled several limited liability companies “(LLCs”) which purportedly managed a large portfolio of commercial loans. From July 2012 until December 2017 investors were sold unregistered securities in the form of promissory notes and, under the terms of the notes, were to receive periodic interest payments.
Investors were told that the Woodbridge funds would be making commercial loans and that the third party borrowers would be making high rate interest payments back to the funds. In reality, 275 LLCs Shapiro owned and controlled borrowed most of the investors’ funds. These LLCs had no revenue or assets and made no loan payments to the Woodbridge funds. Instead, in classic Ponzi scheme fashion, Shapiro used funds deposited by new investors to make supposed interest and dividend payments to existing investors.
Shapiro/Woodbridge ultimately raised $1.22 billion from 8,400 investors, including 2,600 who bought notes with retirement funds. The promissory notes were sold to the unsuspecting investors through Woodbridge’s unregistered in house sales agents and outside sales agents. The agents misrepresented the promissory notes as “low risk,” “safe” and “conservative” investments.
By making the interest payments using new investors’ funds, Woodbridge was able to induce the new investors to deposit funds and have existing investors roll over their promissory notes into new notes as the original notes matured.
In addition, the SEC complaint says Shapiro diverted over $21 million from investor funds for the personal use of him and his family. Shapiro and his family used investor funds to purchase luxury cars, jewelry, fine wine, charted air flights and country club memberships.
Shapiro’s empire collapsed in December 2017 when, as in the case of most Ponzi schemes, he ran out of money. Unable to pay investors their interest and/or dividend payments, most of the funds declared bankruptcy. Investors are owed over $961 million as a result of the collapse of the funds.
If you invested in any of the Woodbridge Group of Companies’ funds (see the list of defendants in the SEC complaint below) contact us now to discuss what your options are. Lubiner, Schmidt & Palumbo are experienced securities arbitration, litigation and regulatory attorneys. We can assist you in protecting your rights and recovering lost funds.
Named defendants in SEC Complaint:
ROBERT H. SHAPIRO,
WOODBRIDGE GROUP OF COMPANIES, LLC, d/b/a WOODBRIDGE WEALTH,
RS PROTECTION TRUST,
WMF MANAGEMENT, LLC,
WOODBRIDGE STRUCTURED FUNDING, LLC,
WOODBRIDGE MORTGAGE INVESTMENT FUND 1, LLC,
WOODBRIDGE MORTGAGE INVESTMENT FUND 2, LLC,
WOODBRIDGE MORTGAGE INVESTMENT FUND 3, LLC,
WOODBRIDGE MORTGAGE INVESTMENT FUND 3A, LLC,
WOODBRIDGE MORTGAGE INVESTMENT FUND 4, LLC, WOODBRIDGE COMMERCIAL BRIDGE LOAN FUND 1, LLC,
WOODBRIDGE COMMERCIAL BRIDGE LOAN FUND 2, LLC,
144 WOODBRIDGE-AFFILIATED PROPERTY LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANIES, 1 131 WOODBRIDGE-AFFILIATED HOLDING LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANIES,
WOODBRIDGE REALTY OF COLORADO, LLC cl/b/a WOODBRIDGE REALTY UNLIMITED, WOODBRIDGE LUXURY HOMES OF CALIFORNIA, HNC. d/b/a MERCER VINE, INC.,
RIVERDALE FUNDING, LLC,
SCHWARTZ MEDIA BUYING COMPANY, LLC,
WFS HOLDING CO., LLC R