Home Alts News SEC Charges Philadelphia Man for Orchestrating $30 Million Ponzi Scheme

SEC Charges Philadelphia Man for Orchestrating $30 Million Ponzi Scheme

The Securities and Exchange Commission filed charges against Josh S. Verne in connection with an approximately $30 million offering fraud that targeted more than 100 investors, many from the Philadelphia area.

The SEC’s complaint alleges that Verne defrauded investors, including close friends and family members, by making false claims about, among other things, his prior business successes and personal wealth, his authority to pool investor funds in order to purchase securities, and the purported use of investors’ funds.

According to the complaint, between at least 2018 and 2020, Verne solicited investments for his online rent-to-own business Ownable LLC, its affiliate Ownable Capital Partners I LLC, and three limited liability companies he created for the alleged purpose of pooling investors’ funds together to invest in Ownable and two start-up companies unaffiliated with Verne. The SEC says Verne befriended several influential investors in the Philadelphia area by falsely portraying himself as a successful entrepreneur whose past business ventures had made him a multi-millionaire. These initial investors lent Verne credibility and helped him connect with other wealthy and influential investors who ultimately invested directly into his businesses.

Of the approximately $31 million raised, only a little more than half was invested as promised. The complaint alleges that Verne wrongfully used at least $9.3 million of investors’ funds for his own benefit, including to pay for private school tuition and an interior designer for a beach house, charter private jets, repay millions of dollars in personal loans and to make Ponzi-like payments to earlier investors. He used over $16 million to finance Ownable and OCP, both of which failed, resulting in millions of dollars in investor losses and he returned approximately $5.2 million to investors through Ponzi-like payments.

The SEC’s complaint, filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, charges Verne with violating SEC rules, and seeks permanent injunctive relief, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, prejudgment interest and civil penalties.

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