(STL.News) – The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged a South Florida attorney with aiding and abetting, through the issuance of fraudulent opinion letters, a previously-charged $322 million fraud allegedly perpetrated by a now bankrupt Florida-based cash advance company, 1 Global Capital LLC, its former CEO, and its former CFO on 3,600 retail investors. The SEC also previously charged an unregistered broker for his allegedly unlawful sale of 1 Global securities.
According to the SEC’s complaint, filed in federal district court in Miami, Jan D. Atlas, while a partner at a Fort Lauderdale-based law firm that was acting as outside counsel to 1 Global, drafted two opinion letters in which he knowingly falsified or omitted important facts and offered the opinion that 1 Global’s notes likely were not securities. The complaint alleges that 1 Global used the opinion letters to falsely represent to a network of external sales agents that its notes were not securities and that its offering did not have to be registered with the SEC. 1 Global then allegedly induced thousands of retail investors to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in its notes. According to the complaint, Atlas received a percentage of the commissions generated on the sale of 1 Global’s notes, which totaled more than $600,000.
In a parallel action, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida today announced criminal charges against Atlas.
The SEC’s complaint charges Atlas with aiding and abetting the cash advance company and its former CEO’s violations of the antifraud provisions of Sections 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10-b(5) thereunder. The SEC seeks a court-ordered injunction, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains and prejudgment interest, and a civil penalty.