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Regulation and Compliance > Federal Regulation > SEC

SEC Charges a Top Sales Agent in Woodbridge Case

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The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged Brett Pittsenbargar, a Texas-based external sales agent for the Woodbridge Group of Companies LLC, and his wholly owned alter ego company with illegally selling Woodbridge securities to retail investors while acting as an unregistered broker.

According to the complaint, Pittsenbargar was among Woodbridge’s top revenue producers.

The SEC previously charged Woodbridge and its former owner, Robert H. Shapiro, and 19 of Woodbridge’s other highest-earning unregistered brokers with allegedly stealing over $1 billion from thousands of retail investors, many of them seniors, as part of a massive Ponzi scheme.

In mid-October, Shapiro was sentenced to 25 years in prison by a federal judge in Miami for leading a $1.2 billion fraud scheme that hurt some 8,400 investors.

In January 2019, a federal court in Florida ordered Woodbridge, its related companies, and Shapiro to pay a combined $1 billion for operating the Ponzi scheme.

The SEC also charged Woodbridge’s two former directors of investments for their roles in the scheme.

According to the SEC’s complaint, from at least November 2012 to December 2016, Pittsenbargar and his company, MGM Home Remodeling LLC, formerly known as BP Financials LLC, doing business as BP Financial & Tax Design Group (BP Financials), raised more than $18 million by selling Woodbridge securities in unregistered transactions to at least 45 retail investors located in at least four states.

Pittsenbargar was not registered with the SEC and allegedly received approximately $1 million in transaction-based compensation.

The SEC’s complaint, filed in the Central District of California, charges Pittsenbargar and BP Financials with violating the registration provisions of Sections 5(a) and 5(c) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 15(a)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and seeks disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, prejudgment interest and financial penalties.

The SEC’s investigation is continuing.

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