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Levin/Preve SEC Complaint

Levin/Preve SEC Complaint

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Published by: rabdill on May 23, 2012
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07/10/2013

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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTSOUTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDACASE NO. ________SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE )COMMISSION, ))Plaintiff, )v. ))GEORGE G. LEVIN and )FRANK J. PREVE, ))Defendants. )______________________________ )COMPLAINT
Plaintiff Securities and Exchange Commission alleges as follows:
I. INTRODUCTION
 1.
 
From at least July 2008 to October 2009, George Levin and Frank Prevedefrauded investors in raising funds to purchase purported legal settlements from now-convictedPonzi schemer Scott Rothstein. Rothstein perpetrated a massive Ponzi scheme through the saleof fake discounted settlements utilizing his law firm Rothstein, Rosenfeld and Adler, PA(“RRA”). Levin and Preve sold promissory notes and created a feeder fund to funnel investorcapital to Rothstein, ultimately becoming his largest source of capital. With their fate tied toRothstein, Levin and Preve’s settlement purchasing business collapsed along with the Ponzischeme in October 2009.2.
 
Levin and Preve first raised money to purchase Rothstein settlements by offeringinvestors promissory notes issued by Levin’s company, Banyon 1030-32, LLC. In 2009, theyformed a private investment fund called Banyon Income Fund, LP that invested exclusively inRothstein’s settlements, and for which Banyon 1030-32 served as the general partner. Levin
 
 -2-controlled them both and Preve operated them. Each profited from the amount which thesettlement discounts they obtained from Rothstein exceeded the rate of return promised toinvestors.3.
 
In soliciting funds to invest in Rothstein’s settlements, Levin and Prevedistributed the offering materials to investors for the Banyon 1030-32 promissory notes andBanyon Income Fund. The materials for both contained material misrepresentations andomissions. Levin and Preve drafted or participated in the drafting of the offering materials forboth entities, and Levin had ultimate authority over their content. Among other things, theseoffering materials represented to investors that prior to any settlement purchase, Banyon 1030-32would obtain certain documentation regarding the settlements to ensure the safety of theinvestments. Levin and Preve, however, knew or were reckless in not knowing that Banyon1030-32 often purchased settlements from Rothstein without obtaining any documentationwhatsoever.4.
 
Furthermore, Banyon Income Fund’s private placement memorandum (“PPM”)misrepresented that the fund would be a continuation of a successful business strategy pursuedby Banyon 1030-32 during the prior 2½ years. The PPM stated that Banyon 1030-32 hadpurchased more than $1 billion in Rothstein settlements, had already collected half of thatamount, and was due more than $550 million in receivables from previously purchasedsettlements.5.
 
However, Levin and Preve failed to disclose that by the time the Banyon IncomeFund offering began in May 2009, Rothstein had already ceased making payments on a majorityof the settlements Levin and his entities had purchased. They also failed to inform investors that
 
 -3-Levin’s ability to recover his prior investments from Rothstein was contingent on his ability toraise at least $100 million of additional funding to purchase more settlements from Rothstein.6.
 
Through their conduct, the Defendants each violated Sections 5(a), 5(c), and 17(a)of the Securities Act of 1933 (“Securities Act”), 15 U.S.C. § 77e(a), 77e(c), and 77q(a); andSection 10(b) and Rule 10b-5 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”), 15U.S.C. § 78j(b) and 17 C.F.R. § 240.10b-5. Unless permanently enjoined, the Defendants arereasonably likely to continue to violate the federal securities laws.
II. DEFENDANTS AND RELATED PARTIESA. Defendants
7.
 
Levin
, 71, resides in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He was the managing member of several entities involved in investments with Rothstein, including Banyon 1030-32.8.
 
Preve
, 68, resides in Plantation, Florida. He managed the day-to-day operationsof Levin’s investments in Rothstein’s Ponzi scheme.
 B. Related Parties
9.
 
Rothstein
, 49, is currently serving fifty years in federal custody for operating hismassive Ponzi scheme. Rothstein was an attorney licensed by the State of Florida until he waspermanently disbarred on November 25, 2009.10.
 
RRA
was a prominent law firm based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Rothstein wasa founding partner in the firm and utilized the firm in his Ponzi scheme. RRA has disbanded andbeen forced into bankruptcy due to Rothstein’s scheme. RRA’s affairs are handled by abankruptcy trustee overseeing the firm’s dissolution.11.
 
Banyon 1030-32
is a Nevada limited liability company with its principal place of business in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. During the relevant time period Levin was the managing

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