SEC Stops Recidivist's Fraud Before Investors Are Harmed
Litigation Release No. 24559 / August 13, 2019
Securities and Exchange Commission v. Antonio Bravata, Civil Action No. 19-cv-12387 (E.D. Michigan, filed August 13, 2019)
On August 13, 2019, the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") charged Antonio M. Bravata, of Ferndale, Michigan, a recidivist securities law violator and convicted felon, with securities fraud conducted while serving a sentence for an earlier investment fraud. Bravata was previously charged by the SEC, and later by criminal authorities, for his participation in a $50 million securities fraud conducted through BBC Equities, LLC. In 2013, Bravata was found guilty in a jury trial, sentenced to 5 years of incarceration, and ordered to pay restitution. In the SEC case, Bravata was found liable for securities fraud, enjoined from future violations, and ordered to pay disgorgement and penalties.
The SEC's complaint alleges that while still on home confinement as a result of his criminal conviction, Bravata offered securities in Primo World Ventures, LLC ("Primo"), a company he owned and controlled. According to the complaint, Bravata prepared Primo's offering materials, which he modeled on those provided to BBC Equities investors. The materials allegedly concealed Bravata's role in Primo, and his criminal record, and falsely stated that another individual was in charge of Primo's daily operations. The complaint also alleges that, on Primo's website, Bravata falsely stated that Primo utilized a team of lawyers, accountants, real estate professionals, and analysts, when in fact no such team existed and Primo was limited to Bravata, his incarcerated father, and a former BBC Equities salesman Bravata enlisted to assist with the Primo scheme.
The complaint states that before Bravata was able to complete any sales of Primo securities, the SEC's Division of Enforcement detected his scheme and put a stop to the Primo offering.
The SEC's complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, alleges that Bravata violated Sections 17(a)(1) and (3) of the Securities Act of 1933. Without admitting or denying the SEC's allegations, Bravata agreed to a judgment that includes a permanent conduct-based injunction prohibiting him from participating in the issuance, purchase, offer, or sale of any securities to the public and a $75,000 penalty. The settlement is subject to court approval.
The investigation of this matter was conducted by Drew O'Brien and Ben Hanauer and was supervised by C.J. Kerstetter of the SEC's Chicago Regional Office.