Last week, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced that it had charged the Maryland-based Owings Group LLC, three of its related companies and four individuals in an offering fraud that raised more than $5 million from roughly 50 investors. The SEC’s complaint alleges that from 2013 until at least 2014, convicted felon Mark Johnson orchestrated and operated a fraudulent investment scheme with help from three salesmen, Brian Koslow, David Waltzer, and Kevin Drost.
The salesmen were paid substantial sales commissions from the principal invested. The complaint alleges that the defendants deceived investors into believing that Owings was successfully bringing companies public using a scheme called the Initial Registration Program. In reality, the SEC alleges that Owings had only an untested idea for streamlining the process. The SEC also alleges that Owings failed to bring any companies public in the first year. Then, Johnson is accused of creating two investment funds as a stalling tactic in hopes of buying out the IRP investments from disgruntled earlier investors.
Further details have been made available here.