Federal regulators have barred two advisors from further work in the industry after they raised over $14 million from 100 investors by promising them “indestructible wealth” and that the advisors managed money in “God’s way,” according to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The advisors, Paul Mata and David Kayatta, operated as Logos Wealth Advisors in Southern California. They worked together for the past seven years ago or so, after both were fired by Ameriprise Financial. Mata and Kayatta have lengthy regulatory records, according to FINRA BrokerCheck.
The two sold unregistered investment funds, Secured Capital Investments and Logos Real Estate Holdings.
“Mata falsely promised ‘guaranteed’ returns, misrepresented SCI’s use of proceeds, misused investor funds, failed to disclose his disciplinary history and his control of SCI to his advisory clients, and otherwise engaged in a variety of conduct that operated as a fraud and deceit on investors,” the SEC’s ruling on Mata stated Wednesday.
The regulator adds that Ameriprise fired Mata in March 2009 for violating company policies by recommending that clients “take out risky loans to finance investments, presenting unapproved seminars, employing individuals without conducting proper background checks and operating SCI as a competing investment company.”
Earlier this year, California regulators alleged that from June 2007 through September 2015, Mata had managed and controlled seven entities “while using investors’ funds to pay for his, … Kayatta’s and [another associate’s] personal living expenses, fund startup companies he owned and controlled, and expand his unlicensed investment advisory business,” according to FINRA BrokerCheck.
In its case against Kayatta, the SEC said last year that he misrepresented SCI’s use of proceeds and “failed to disclose the former registered investment advisor’s disciplinary history and his control of SCI to his advisory clients.”
“They are lulling investors into keeping their money with the funds by touting their success, despite the fact that the funds have not made a profit. They have also lied to investors who expressed concern about the withdrawal of the funds’ IRA custodian. Kayatta engaged in further fraudulent conduct by allowing new investors to invest in LREH after the fund’s closing date, despite knowing that doing so would dilute the accounts of original investors,” the SEC said.
“In addition, Kayatta is misappropriating investor money for their personal use by incurring personal expenses on a personal American Express account and paying off the balances with SCI investor funds,” regulators said.