SEC Files Investment Fraud Charges Against Former NHL Owner
On April 5th, 2018, the Securities and Exchange Commision (SEC) filed civil investment fraud charges against Peter H. Pocklington and five alleged co-conspirators, including Yolanda C. Velazquez and Vanessa Puelo, both of Florida. Mr. Pocklington is the former owner of the National Hockey League’s Edmonton Oilers.
According to the SEC, Mr. Pocklington and his co-conspirators concealed his role in a medical device company, made false representations to investors, and misappropriated at least $680,000 in investor money for the personal use of executives. In addition, the SEC alleges that Yolanda C. Velazquez, who was previously barred by the SEC for fraudulent penny stock offerings, was operating a “boiler room” in Central Florida, attempting to solicit investment into the company.
More Than $14 Million Was Raised From Investors
The SEC’s official legal complaint, which was filed in the United States District Court for the Central District of California, alleges that Nova Oculus Partners, LLC raised more than $14 million from investors throughout the country. According to the agency, this was the company that was at the heart of the investment fraud scheme. Previously, it was known as The Eye Machine, LLC. Ostensibly, Nova Oculus Partners was developing a cutting-edge medical device that would help treat a serious eye condition. However, there were several serious problems about the way the company was raising and spending investor money:
- The founder, Peter H. Pocklington, is a convicted felon who was previously sanctioned for securities fraud by the state of Arizona. Considerable effort was taken to hide his role in the company from investors.
- Investors were misled about how their funds were actually going to be used by the company. On the official private placement forms, investors were told that less than 30 percent of the money would be used for ‘securities offerings’ and related costs. In reality, the number was far higher than that.
- The SEC also contends that nearly $682,000 worth of investor money was simply siphoned off and used for the personal expenses of Mr. Pocklington and other managers of the business.
Cold Calling Investors From a Boiler Room in Florida
Many investors in Florida were affected by this fraud scheme. To generate investment, this company used aggressive cold calling tactics. Yolanda C. Velazquez, previously sanctioned for penny stock fraud, was overseeing a team of sales representatives who were soliciting investment out of a Florida-based call center. In 2005, Velazquez entered in an agreement with the SEC, consenting to penny stock fraud penalties and paying affected investors $301,581 in financial restitution along with a $120,000 fine. She was also barred from the industry.
Contact Our Miami Investment Fraud Attorneys Today
At Carlson & Associates, P.A, we are a trial law firm dedicated to protecting the legal rights and financial interests of investors in South Florida. If you or a family member was a victim of investment fraud or brokerage firm negligence, our legal team can help. For a full private review of your claim, please call our Miami office today at 1-(305)-372-9700.