The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged Alexander Rowland with the fraudulent offer and sale of nearly $3 million of securities to approximately 122 investors through his company, Roaring Investments Inc. In a parallel action, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania filed criminal charges against Rowland.
Rowland, a former warehouse operator, formed Roaring Investments as a purported investment company and served as its president and chief executive officer. He allegedly held himself out to potential investors as an experienced and licensed investment adviser who would invest their money in stocks and cryptocurrency.
The SEC alleges that Rowland also guaranteed potential investors returns ranging from 20 percent within weeks to 140 percent within one year. The SEC said that a number of investors liquidated retirement accounts or obtained home equity loans to invest with him based on the false claims.
The SEC claims that Rowland provided existing investors with phony account updates, convincing them to reinvest rather than cash out their investments. He is accused of investing approximately $518,000 of the almost $3 million he obtained from his clients, and those investments lost more than $100,000. The majority of investors’ funds were used for personal expenses and to make Ponzi-like payments to earlier investors, the SEC said.
The SEC’s complaint charges Rowland with violating the antifraud provisions various securities laws and seeks injunctive relief, the disgorgement of ill-gotten gains with prejudgment interest, and civil penalties.
In a parallel criminal action, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania charged Rowland with seven counts of mail fraud, 30 counts of wire fraud, one count of bank fraud, one count of securities fraud, one count of investment adviser fraud, and two counts of money laundering.
“Honesty, integrity, and trust all play critical roles in the relationship between a financial adviser and a client,” said U.S. Attorney William McSwain. “Here, Rowland wasn’t even a legitimate advisor: he is an alleged con man who lived lavishly on his clients’ money – funds they expected him to invest responsibly.”
If convicted, Rowland faces a maximum sentence of 835 years in prison, a five-year period of supervised release, a fine of $15.3 million and a $4,200 special assessment.