SEC Charges Pennsylvania Attorney and Swiss Resident in $1.4 Million Dollar Ponzi Scheme
Litigation Release No. 24778 / March 24, 2020
Securities and Exchange Commission v. Todd Lahr and Thomas Megas, No. 5:20-cv-1593 (E.D. Pa. filed Mar. 24, 2020)
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced charges against Pennsylvania attorney Todd H. Lahr and Thomas Megas of Switzerland in connection with an alleged Ponzi scheme that defrauded at least 10 retail investors through the unregistered sale of securities in THL Holdings, LLC, a company controlled by Lahr, and Ferran Global Holdings, Inc., a company jointly controlled by Lahr and Megas.
The SEC's complaint alleges that for the better part of three years ending 2017, Lahr and Megas targeted clients of Lahr's law practice to raise funds for several Megas-led business ventures, including mining operations in Papua New Guinea and real estate investments in Barcelona and London. Instead, Lahr and Megas allegedly used investor funds to pay earlier investors and for various personal expenses, including Lahr's mortgage payments and credit card bills and Megas' restaurant bills and ATM withdrawals.
The SEC's complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, charges Lahr and Megas with violating the antifraud and registration provisions of Sections 5(a) and (c), and 17(a)(1) and (3), of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rules 10b-5(a) and (c) thereunder. The SEC is seeking permanent injunctions, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains with prejudgment interest, and civil penalties.
In a parallel action, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and the Fraud Section of the Department of Justice announced criminal charges against Lahr.
The SEC's investigation was conducted by Jonathan Shapiro, Sonia Torrico, and Cecilia Connor, with assistance from Donato Furlano, and supervised by Carolyn Welshhans and Amy Friedman. The SEC's litigation will be handled by Matthew Scarlato, and supervised by Jan Folena. The SEC appreciates the assistance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Justice, and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.