SEC Charges John Woods of Southport Capital With Operating $110 Million Ponzi Scheme By Selling Units of Horizon Private Equity, III, LLC

On August 20, 2021, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) filed an emergency action to stop a fraudulent Ponzi scheme allegedly perpetrated by Marietta, Georgia resident John Woods and two entities he controls: registered investment adviser Livingston Group Asset Management Company, d/b/a Southport Capital (“Southport”), and investment fund Horizon Private Equity, III, LLC.

The complaint alleged that John Woods has been running a massive Ponzi scheme for over a decade. At the end of July 2021, Woods and Southport have raised more than $110 million from over 400 investors in 20 states by offering and selling membership units in Horizon Private Equity, III, LLC (“Horizon”).

Many of the victims are elderly retirees preyed upon by investment advisers at Southport Capital (“Southport”), a registered investment advisory firm owned and controlled by Woods.  According to the SEC’s complaint, Woods, Southport, and other Southport investment adviser representatives allegedly told investors that their Horizon investments were safe and they would receive returns of 6-7% interest, guaranteed for two to three years.  Investors were also allegedly told that they could get their principal back without penalty after a short waiting period.

Additionally, Mr. Woods and his accomplices at Southport generally told investors that Horizon would earn a return by investing their money in, for example, government bonds, stocks, or small real estate projects.

According to the complaint, however, these statements were false and misleading.  Instead, because Horizon did not earn any significant profits from legitimate investments, the 6-7% returns promised to earlier investors were paid out of new investor money.

The SEC’s complaint also alleges that Woods repeatedly lied to the SEC during regulatory examinations of Southport.

On August 24, 2021, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia granted a temporary restraining order and asset freeze with respect to defendants Woods and Horizon and ordered expedited discovery from Southport, among other relief.

Defendant Southport Capital, registered with the SEC as Livingston Group Asset Management Company, Inc., has more than $824 million in client assets under management.  Mr. Woods is the majority owner of the firm and has served as the firm’s President.  Southport Capital has been registered with the SEC since June 2001.  The firm is licensed in the following states:  Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Montana, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

According to the firm’s website, Clay Parker is currently serving as the firm’s President & CEO. Other senior staff at Southport Capital includes Jim Woods (Partner/Investment advisor), Jennifer Greene (Chief Compliance Officer), Jim Wilson (Chief Financial Officer), Paul Guerra (Regional Managing Director), and Bill Gunderson (Portfolio Manager – CIO of Gunderson Capital).  Other investment advisors, financial planners, and financial professionals include Cody Kirk, Bruce DiPietro, Nick Seifert, Lynn Witmer, Laurie Dunsmore, Artie Brown, Scott Braddock, Barry Kyte, Britt Wright, Penny Flippen, Stewart Smith, Conrad Levesque, Kevin Beahan, Julie Jones, Henry Lessner, Manita Lam, and Robert Lachica.

What Can Horizon Private Equity, III, LLC Investors Do?

Investors that have purchased Horizon Private Equity, III, LLC should contact a securities litigation law firm to review their legal rights.

Iorio Altamirano LLP is a securities litigation law firm located in New York, NY. We represent investors nationwide and vigorously pursue claims on behalf of investors to recover investment losses.

We have nearly 20 years of combined experience as securities litigation lawyers and have helped investors recover investment losses in over 1,000 cases. Our firm generally represents harmed investors on a contingency fee basis to try to recover your losses. If we do not obtain a recovery, you do not owe us a legal fee.

If you or a loved one have purchased Horizon Private Equity, III, LLC, contact securities litigation lawyers August Iorio and Jorge Altamirano of Iorio Altamirano LLP at august@ia-law.comjorge@ia-law.com, or toll-free at (855) 430-4010 for a free and confidential consultation and review of your legal rights.

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