MARIN COUNTY, CA – A Marin man and the investment company he owns face federal civil charges in connection with a $330 million Ponzi plan, reports the North Bay Business Journal.
Richard Dow Rockwell, and his eponymous investment company of which he is the sole investor, were accused by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on April 1 for allegedly soliciting more than 1,200 investors in the scheme, according to the report.
On April 1, the SEC charged Rockwell and Dow Rockwell LLC with violating the securities registration provisions of the Securities Act of 1933, the securities dealer registration provisions of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and sections of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940.
The suit seeks civil penalties and the return of ill-gotten gains with prejudgment interest, the SEC said in a statement.
Rockwell is accused of raising about $8 million for Professional Financial Investors (PFI), a Novato-based company formerly run by CEO Lewis Wallach, which pleaded guilty in December to federal wire fraud and conspiracy to commit charges of wire fraud, according to the report.
The lawsuit against Rockwell and his company, Dow Rockwell LLC, alleges he earned approximately $400,000 in PFI referral fees for soliciting and recommending PFI investments to clients and did not disclose compensation, said the SEC in press releases announcing the charges against Rockwell.
The complaint also alleges that Dow Rockwell and his company failed to disclose Wallach’s prior criminal conviction and that at the time his company offered and sold PFI securities, neither he nor his company was registered as a broker. with the SEC or associated with a broker-dealer.