SEC Complaint Alleges Horizon Registered Agent John Woods Lured Clients Into Massive Ponzi Scheme

The national securities and class action law firm Levin Law, P.A. is investigating potential claims on behalf of Oppenheimer & Co. customers who invested in Horizon Private Equity III. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has filed a complaint against former Oppenheimer registered agent John Woods who is suspected of soliciting customers to invest in Horizon. It is alleged by the regulatory agency that Horizon is an elaborate Ponzi scheme entangling over 400 investors.

Former Oppenheimer customers who have invested in Horizon Private Equity III are encouraged to contact Levin Law, P.A. for a free case evaluation. Managing partner and Levin Law founder Brian Levin has gained national recognition for his determined representation of investment fraud victims. 

If you or a loved one invested in Horizon, call (305) 402-9050 or email Attorney Brian Levin directly at [email protected] to discuss your legal options.

Alleged Ponzi Scheme, Large and Ongoing

According to a recently filed SEC complaint, John J. Woods is accused of running a massive, decade-long Ponzi scheme involving Horizon Private Equity III. The Ponzi scheme remains ongoing, continuing to raise money from investors. Currently, regulators believe that the over 400 investors from at least 20 different states are owed over $110,000,000 in principal.

It is also alleged that Woods and investment advisers at Livingston Group Asset Management Company d/b/a Southport Capital (“Southport”), a firm he owned and controlled, “preyed” on elderly retirees. Investors were allegedly promised guaranteed returns of 6-7% for two to three years. Woods and other Southport advisers reportedly informed investors that Horizon would generate profits by investing in “government bonds, stocks, or small real estate projects.” 

In reality, according to the SEC filing, money received from new investors was used to pay returns of earlier investors. Horizon has allegedly not received any significant profits from “legitimate investments.”

Allegations Against John Woods Tied to Oppenheimer & Co.

As reported by the SEC, Woods allegedly began soliciting investments for Horizon in 2008 after purchasing Southport and while still a registered agent and broker with an unnamed Institutional Investment Adviser. According to publicly available information on Woods’ broker check file, he was employed with the institutional investment adviser, Oppenheimer & Co.

He, and his brother Jim Woods, are believed to have lured a large number of Oppenheimer customers into investing with Horizon. Investors were purportedly told that the investments were safe with a fixed rate of return. 

Possible Failure to Supervise

It was not until 2016 that Oppenheimer asked Woods to resign. If allegations are true, Oppenheimer customers might be entitled to compensation for investment losses through a FINRA arbitration claim. 

John Woods is no longer registered as a broker through FINRA or an investment adviser through the SEC. Woods, Southport, and Horizon are believed to have violated multiple sections of the security act and have subsequently been charged with fraud, making material misrepresentations or omissions, and aiding and abetting.

Oppenheimer, and all brokerage firms, are required to supervise the activities and investment recommendations of their employees. Failure to supervise, resulting in losses to investors, may result in the firm being held liable for investor losses. 

Contact Levin Law P.A. If You Are an Oppenheimer Customer and Experienced Financial Loss

If you are a current or former Oppenheimer customer who was solicited to invest in Horizon Private Equity III, contact Levin Law, P.A. for a free case evaluation. All consultations are free and confidential. 

Call (305) 402-9050 or email managing partner Brian Levin directly at [email protected]. Most cases are accepted on a contingency fee basis, meaning that you are not responsible for Levin Law’s attorney fees unless money is recovered on your behalf.

About Levin Law

Levin Law, P.A. is a premier national securities, commodities, and class action law firm. Brian Levin, Levin Law’s managing attorney, has obtained settlements and recoveries in excess of $100,000,000 in assets through arbitration and litigation for individual and institutional investors throughout the country and the rest of the world. Levin Law represents retirees, individual investors, high-net-worth investors, ultra-high-net-worth investors, institutions, family offices, trusts, publicly held companies, and others.

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