The Securities and Exchange Commission has brought civil charges against Matthew J. Skinner and several entities he owns and controls for allegedly orchestrating multiple fraudulent and unregistered real estate offerings over a five-year period, in which he raised in excess of $9 million from more than one-hundred investors.
In its civil enforcement action, the SEC alleged that Skinner, who held himself out as a prominent real estate investor, misrepresented material facts to investors and then stole millions of their capital. Specifically, the SEC’s Complaint contends that Skinner represented to investors that their funds would be utilized to finance certain real estate deals and, in some instances, made guarantees of annual returns in excess of 10%. Instead, Skinner used investor funds for his own personal benefit (including lavish vacations and payments for exotic cars), as well as to pay unrelated business costs and to make Ponzi-like distributions to other investors, the SEC alleged. Skinner then, per the SEC’s claims, blamed the COVID-19 pandemic for his inability to repay investors and used this excuse to coerce extensions of their investment time-periods.
The SEC’s complaint charges Skinner and his companies with violations of the securities registration requirements, anti-fraud provisions and broker-dealer registration provisions of the federal securities laws, and seeks injunctions, civil penalties, disgorgement and prejudgment interest.
Nothing new here. The SEC continues to aggressively pursue alleged unregistered, fraudulent private securities offerings, particularly in the real estate space. All indications are that with a new administration at the helm of the SEC, its enforcement will only become more robust and the price of violating the federal securities laws more costly.
David Chase, Esq. is an SEC defense lawyer, former Senior Counsel with the SEC’s Division of Enforcement and an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Miami School of Law where he teaches SEC Regulation. His SEC defense law firm, based in South Florida, represents nationwide those under SEC investigation and prosecution. Mr. Chase may be contacted toll-free at: 800-760-0912, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Firm website: securitiesfrauddefense.net.