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Recover Losses from the Horizon Private Equity, III LLC Ponzi Scheme

If you are an investor in Horizon Private Equity, III LLC (“Horizon”), we can help you recover your losses. The Horizon scheme was run by financial advisor John Justin Woods through two entities that Woods’ controlled: 1) registered investment adviser Livingston Group Asset Management Company, d/b/a Southport Capital (“Southport”); and 2) the investment fund Horizon.

What happened?

On August 20, 2021, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) filed an emergency action to stop a fraudulent Ponzi scheme allegedly perpetrated by Woods, Southport and Horizon. On August 24, 2021, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia granted a temporary restraining order and asset freeze with respect to defendants Woods and Horizon and ordered expedited discovery with respect to Southport.

According to the SEC’s complaint, the defendants raised more than $110 million from over 400 investors in 20 states by offering and selling membership units in Horizon. Woods, Southport, and other Southport investment adviser representatives allegedly told investors – including many elderly retirees – that their Horizon investments were safe, would be used for different investment activities, would pay a fixed rate of return, and that investors could get their principal back without penalty after a short waiting period. According to the complaint, however, these statements were false and misleading: Horizon did not earn any significant profits from legitimate investments, and a very large percentage of purported “returns” to earlier investors were simply paid out of new investor money. The complaint also alleges that Woods repeatedly lied to the SEC during regulatory examinations of Southport.

In June 2022, the SEC filed civil fraud charges against Michael Mooney, Britt Wright, and Penny Flippen as co-conspirators for their role in the Ponzi scheme fraud. According to the SEC, Mooney, Wright, and Flippen were investment advisors in Sarasota, Florida, and Mount Airy, North Carolina, who sold Horizon to investors.

On March 24, 2023, Woods, President of Southport Capital and manager of Horizon Private Equity, III, LLC, pleaded guilty to operating a Ponzi scheme. The SEC’s civil case is SEC v. Woods et al., No. 1:21-CV-03413-SDG (N.D. Ga.).

What Can You Do?

A receiver has been appointed to claw back as much money as he can to reimburse investors. On January 24, 2023, Judge Grimberg approved the distribution of $18,000,000, which falls extremely short of the amounts owed due to investors.

If you have suffered losses from the Horizon Ponzi scheme, we would like to hear from you. Contact us to discuss your legal rights and potential options to recover losses. The Schwartz Law Firm represents investors in claims against financial advisors and their firms. If you have questions about your rights, your potential claim or need assistance from an investment fraud lawyer, please contact us at 866-618-0545 or email Matthew Schwartz directly at [email protected].

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