The Securities and Exchange Commission has levied fraud charges against a California-based hybrid advisory firm and its two senior executives for lying to investors in a real estate-related securities offering fraud.
According to the SEC’s complaint, Hoplon Financial Group and its CEO, Daniel B. Vazquez, Sr., created the New Economic Opportunities Fund I LLC vehicle for the supposed purpose of pooling investor funds to purchase and flip residential real estate properties.
Vazquez was a registered investment adviser and broker affiliated with Cetera Advisors from November 2013 to May 2016. He was affiliated with the now-defunct Investors Capital Corp. for two years prior.
The complaint alleges that between 2011 and 2014, Hoplon and Vazquez sold membership units in the New Economic Opportunities Fund I, raising $2.18 million from 27 investors, primarily from investors’ individual retirement account funds.
From the outset of the offering, Hoplon and Vazquez, with the assistance of Hoplon’s then-COO Gilbert Fluetsch, allegedly misused most of the funds to pay unrelated business or personal expenses, including approximately $780,000 that was misappropriated since January 2013.
The complaint, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, charges Hoplon and Vazquez with fraud violations, and charges Fluetsch with fraud and with aiding and abetting Hoplon and Vazquez’s violations.