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SEC Charges Businessman With Operating a Ponzi-Like Scheme, Obtains TRO and Emergency Asset Freeze

On January 14, 2020, the SEC informed the public that they had filed an enforcement action and obtained a temporary restraining order and asset freeze against Kenneth D. Courtright, III, an Illinois resident, and his company, Todays Growth Consultants Inc. (TGC) in connection with an alleged Ponzi-like scheme that raised at least $75 million from over 500 investors.

The SEC’s complaint, initially filed in federal court in Chicago on December 27, 2019, and unsealed on January 14, 2020, charges Courtright and his company with antifraud and registration violations and seeks emergency relief, as well as permanent injunctions, return of ill-gotten gains with prejudgment interest, and civil penalties. On Dec. 30, 2019, the Court issued a temporary restraining order, ordered an asset freeze and other emergency relief.

Between 2017 and 2019, Courtright and TGC operated under the alleged false promise that they could provide a minimum guaranteed rate of return on revenues, generated by websites, to their investors. TGC claimed it would use investor funds to buy or build a website and develop, market, and maintain the website for investors. However, TGC’s sales were conducted through unregistered securities offerings. In reality, as alleged, Courtright and TGC were operating a Ponzi-like scheme, using investor funds to pay investor returns, in addition to paying for Courtright’s personal expenses, including his mortgage and private school tuitions for his family.

Antonia Chion, Associate Director in the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, stated, “To avoid further harm to investors and preserve the misused assets that have not already been dissipated, we have sought and obtained emergency relief.” The SEC’s investigation, pending litigation, is ongoing.

The attorneys at Lax & Neville LLP have extensive experience in successfully prosecuting claims on behalf of customers who have suffered losses as a result of investment and securities fraud. Additionally, attorneys at Lax & Neville are experienced with employment law in the financial services industry, and representing clients in inquiries and investigations conducted by the SEC and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”). If you are a victim of fraud or are a Financial Advisor or Broker-dealer with a prospective regulatory issue, please contact Lax & Neville LLP today at (212) 696-1999 to schedule a consultation.