U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Litigation Release No. 22934 / February 27, 2014
Securities and Exchange Commission v. Robert Custis, Civil Action No. 3:12-cv-01696-PK (D. Oregon filed September 20, 2012)
SEC Settles Claims Against Attorney Retained by Funds Involved in Fraudulent Investment Scheme
The United States District Court for the District of Oregon has entered final judgment against Oregon attorney Robert Custis pursuant to a settlement resolving claims brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Commission’s complaint alleged that Mr. Custis was retained to perform work for investment funds run by Yusaf Jawed and that he made false and misleading statements to the funds’ investors.
The Commission’s previously-filed complaint alleged that Mr. Jawed and two entities he controlled, Grifphon Asset Management, LLC and Grifphon Holdings, LLC, defrauded more than 100 investors in the Pacific Northwest and across the country as part of a long-running Ponzi scheme that raised more than $37 million. The complaint alleged that Mr. Custis was retained in 2009 and began sending updates to Mr. Jawed’s investors regarding the status of a purported purchase of the funds’ assets that would allow investors to redeem their shares of the funds for a profit. The complaint alleges that the statements regarding the asset purchase were false and that the investors were never paid.
Mr. Custis agreed to settle the Commission’s charges without admitting or denying the allegations. The District Court entered final judgment on February 13, 2014, permanently enjoining Mr. Custis from violating Sections 10(b) and Rule 10b-5 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Section 206(4) and Rule 206(4)-8 of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940.
On February 27, 2014, pursuant to an offer of settlement submitted by Mr. Custis, the Commission issued an order prohibiting Mr. Custis from appearing or practicing before the Commission as an attorney under Rule 102(e) of the Commission’s Rules of Practice.