Court orders Aequitas to disgorge $453 million in fraud case

A federal court in Oregon entered final judgments against Aequitas Management requiring the firm’s receiver to pay $453 million in disgorgement.

The Lake Oswego, Ore.-based investment management firm was the subject of a Securities and Exchange Commission complaint filed in 2016 alleging that Aequitas defrauded more than 1,500 investors into believing they were putting their money into health care, education and transportation investments when their money was being used primarily in a Ponzi-like fashion. The firm sold more than $300 million worth of private investment notes, mostly through financial advisers.

The court also required Robert J. Jesenik, the firm’s former CEO, and Brian A. Oliver, its former executive vice president, to pay $940,806 and $235,928, respectively, in disgorgement and interest. Jesenik also must pay a civil penalty of $625,000.

Former CFO N. Scott Gillis was required to pay a $300,000 civil penalty. Oliver also was charged criminally for his conduct and has pled guilty, but has not yet been sentenced.

In a separate proceeding, the SEC barred the three from the securities industry.

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