U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Litigation Release No. 22748 / July 11, 2013 CORRECTED
Securities and Exchange Commission v. Bryan Arias, et. al., Civil Action No. Civil Action No. 12-CV-2937 (DRH) (E.D.N.Y.)
SEC Obtains Final Judgments Against Martin C. Hartmann III and Laura Ann Tordy
The Securities and Exchange Commission announced today that on July 9, 2013, the Honorable Denis R. Hurley of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York entered final judgments by consent against defendants Martin C. Hartmann III and Laura Ann Tordy, sales agents for Agape World, Inc. ("Agape"), an offering fraud and Ponzi scheme that raised $415 million from at least 5,000 investors nationwide.
The final judgment as to Hartmann permanently enjoins Hartmann from violating Sections 5 and 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, and Sections 10(b) and 15(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rule 10b-5 thereunder, and requires him to pay $3,591,388 in disgorgement, $560,932 in prejudgment interest, and a civil penalty of $3,594,818. The final judgment as to Tordy permanently enjoins Tordy from violating the same provisions of the federal securities laws as Hartmann, and requires her to pay $1,048,485 in disgorgement, $163,761 in prejudgment interest, and a civil penalty of $1,048,485.
In its complaint, the Commission alleged that Hartmann worked as a sales agent for Agape from at least September 2006 to January 2009 and Tordy worked as a sales agent for Agape from at least February 2007 to January 2009. The complaint alleges Hartmann and Tordy each made misrepresentations to investors concerning the Agape investments they sold and sold the Agape investments despite the incredible returns promised by Agape, their knowledge of previous defaults by Agape, and dire warnings from Agape's president about Agape's financial condition. The complaint further alleged the Agape investments were a sham with, at best, a small fraction of investor funds used as represented; the Agape investments were neither registered with the Commission nor exempt from registration; and, neither Hartmann nor Tordy was associated with a registered broker or dealer while selling them.
The Commission acknowledges the assistance of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York, United States Postal Inspection Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
For further information, see Litigation Release No. 22391 (June 12, 2012)