This is one of the “best scams” we have seen in a while….
On Wednesday, September 9th, the SEC announced fraud charges and an asset freeze to stop an ongoing real estate investment scheme by three California-based business associates. The men men allegedly stole investors’ money while promising them “indestructible wealth.”
According to the SEC complaint, Paul Ricky Mata, David Kayatta and Mario Pincheira stole investor funds for their own use, and diverted much of the money to other businesses they owned. The trio raised more than $14 million from over 100 investors in California and elsewhere for two unregistered funds supposedly investing in real estate.
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Promotional videos posted on Mata’s website and YouTube channel brought in investors to investment seminars titled “Finances God’s Way” or “Indestructible Wealth.” In these seminars, the scammers would encourage retirees and others to sell their current securities holdings and invest in their funds, which “guaranteed” high returns. In reality, the funds never actually made a dime of profit.
Of note, Mata was honored late last year as a finalist in the Spirit of Entrepreneur contest held by the Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship at Cal State University San Bernardino.
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According to the SEC’s complaint unsealed Wednesday in federal court in California, a website controlled by Mata is advertising a three-day “Indestructible Wealth Bootcamp” in Los Angeles next month, leading the SEC’s to go ahead and intervene before the scammers could rip off additional investors. The court-ordered asset freeze granted to the SEC prohibits Mata, Kayatta, and Pincheira from soliciting further investments or spending any more investor funds.
“We allege that under the guise of investment seminars with buoyant slogans, these men enticed investors into investing in purported real estate funds that are nothing more than piggy banks for their personal expenses and unrelated businesses,” commented Lorraine B. Echavarria, Associate Director of the SEC’s Los Angeles Regional Office.
Among other charges, the SEC complaint filed on September 2nd notes that:
Paul Ricky Mata is an ex-licensed securities professional who has an “extensive disciplinary history” that was hidden from investors, who were only told of Mata’s “22 years of experience as a financial advisor.”
All three men charged their personal food, travel, entertainment and other items on Pincheira’s personal American Express card, and then stole investor funds to pay off the card balance, which often topped $40,000 a month.