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SEC Charges Florida Man with Operating $35 Million Ponzi Scheme that Targeted Church Members

The Securities and Exchange Commission charged Brent Seaman of Naples, Florida and various entities he managed with fraudulently raising approximately $35 million from at least 60 investors through an unregistered securities offering.

Many of these investors were elderly, retired, and connected to a Naples church where Seaman was an active member.

The SEC’s complaint alleges that, from approximately June 2019 until September 2022, Seaman told investors he would use their money to invest in technology companies and to trade currencies and commodities. Supposedly, Seaman falsely promised annual returns ranging between 18 and 48 percent and described the investments as “safe” and the returns as “guaranteed.” The SEC says Seaman failed to disclose his two personal bankruptcies, one as late as 2014, and that he had been convicted of fraud and served time in prison.

The complaint further alleges that Seaman solicited investors by touting his proven success investing in currencies when, in reality, he was losing millions of dollars of investors’ money and his currency trading was always unprofitable. Seaman also allegedly misappropriated millions of dollars for himself, in part to purchase luxury automobiles and to pay for trips on private planes. Finally, Seaman allegedly made Ponzi-like payments to investors because he did not generate profits in connection with his trading sufficient to pay investors their required monthly distributions.

“As alleged in our complaint, Seaman targeted church members with false claims of success,” said Eric I. Bustillo, director of the SEC’s Miami Regional Office. “This action reflects a deep commitment to pursue those who prey on vulnerable investors.”

The SEC’s complaint, filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, charges Seaman, Accanito Holdings LLC, Accanito Equity LLC, Accanito Equity II LLC, Accanito Equity III, LLC, and Accanito Equity IV LLC with violating the registration provisions of the SEC. The complaint also charges Seaman, the Accanito LLCs, and two related entities, Accanito Capital Group and Surge LLC, with violating the antifraud provisions of the SEC. Finally, the complaint charges Seaman with violating the broker-dealer registration provisions of SEC. The complaint names as relief defendants, and seeks disgorgement with prejudgment interest from, Seaman’s wife, Jana Seaman, and two affiliated entities, Valo Holdings Group LLC and Surge Capital Ventures LLC, that allegedly together received millions in investor proceeds.

All fraud defendants have consented to a bifurcated settlement, without admitting or denying the Commission’s allegations and subject to court approval, under which they will be enjoined from violating the charged provisions of the federal securities laws and Seaman will be barred from serving as an officer or director of any SEC-reporting company. Relief defendant Jana Seaman has agreed to pay $757,154 in disgorgement and interest. Relief defendant Valo Holdings Group has agreed to pay $668,240 in disgorgement and interest.

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