SEC Charges Florida Real Estate Company, Two Executives in $170 Million Ponzi Scheme Case
On February 18th, 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced emergency legal action against a Florida real estate investment company and two of its lead executives. Specifically, the agency named:
- EquiAlt LLC, a Tampa, FL based real estate company;
- Brian Davidson, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO); and
- Barry M. Rybicki, the Managing Director.
Federal regulators believe that EquiAlt operates in a Ponzi scheme-like manner. In total, the company has taken in $170 million from more than 1,100 investors in Florida and nationwide. Here, our Miami Ponzi scheme lawyer provides an overview of the charges against EquiAlt LLC, Mr. Davidson, and Mr. Rybicki.
Allegations: Real Estate Ponzi Scheme
Earlier this month, the SEC filed a complaint against EquiAlt, Mr. Davidson, Mr. Rybicki, and several related investment entities in the United States District Court of the Middle District of Florida. The complaint alleges that EquiAlt fraudulently raised millions of dollars from investors—the majority of whom were at or near retirement age.
According to regulators, EquiAlt told investors that their funds would be pooled together to purchase shares of underpriced real estate assets. The properties would then be rented or flipped and investors could expect to make a safe return of 8 to 10 percent on their money.
However, in reality, the agency asserts that CEO Brian Davidson and Managing Director Barry Rybicki diverted large amounts of investor capital for their own personal use. The SEC believes that less than 50 percent of investor funds were actually put into real estate. To keep the scheme running, the SEC alleges that Mr. Davidson and Mr. Rybicki engaged in a Ponzi-like system, shuffling around new investor money to pay off the original investors.
A Federal Judge Granted Emergency Relief
After reviewing the legal complaint, a Florida-based federal judge granted emergency relief to the SEC in order to protect investors. Among other things, the court ordered:
- A freeze of EquiAlt’s assets;
- A restraining order prohibiting the destruction of documents; and
- A full accounting of all assets/liabilities held by Equitalt, Mr. Davidson, Mr. Rybicki, and all related investment entities.
Additionally, a receiver was also appointed to manage the situation. If you or your loved one suffered losses in the alleged EquiAlt real estate Ponzi scheme, it is imperative that you consult with an experienced securities fraud lawyer as soon as possible. A lawyer will review your case and help you take action to protect your interests and recover financial compensation.
Speak to Our Miami, FL Ponzi Scheme Attorneys for Immediate Assistance
At Carlson & Associates, P.A., our Miami Ponzi scheme lawyers have the skills and experience to handle Ponzi scheme cases. If you or your loved one was the victim of a Ponzi scheme, we are here to help. Call us now for a confidential consultation. With an office in Miami, we represent investors throughout South Florida, including in Miami Beach, Hialeah, Homestead, Hollywood, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, and Boca Raton.