SEC Charges New Jersey Man and His Private Company with Fraud
Litigation Release No. 24846 / July 1, 2020
Securities and Exchange Commission v. Matthew Benjamin and Clear Solutions Group, LLC, No. 20-civ-08037 (D. N.J. filed July 1, 2020)
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced charges against Matthew Benjamin, a Tenafly, New Jersey resident, and his private company for defrauding investors of approximately $900,000 by selling them securities using false and misleading statements about the company's business, and then misappropriating investor funds for his personal use.
According to the SEC's complaint, between 2017 and 2019, Benjamin and his purported cosmetics company, Clear Solutions Group, LLC, defrauded investors of approximately $900,000 by soliciting and selling securities to the investors using false and misleading statements. Specifically, the complaint alleges that Benjamin falsely told investors Clear Solutions was able to purchase cosmetics at wholesale prices and profitably resell them at a mark-up to a retailer. The complaint alleges that, in reality, Benjamin and Clear Solutions did not conduct any such business. Instead, Benjamin allegedly used investor funds for his own personal benefit. In August 2019, Benjamin confessed to several investors that his purported business was a sham designed to defraud them.
The SEC's complaint, filed in federal district court in Newark, New Jersey, charges Benjamin and Clear Solutions with violations of the antifraud provisions of Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder. The SEC is seeking a final judgment ordering permanent injunctive relief, disgorgement plus prejudgment interest thereon, and civil monetary penalties.
Separately, the United States Attorney's Office for the District of New Jersey announced criminal charges against Benjamin.
The SEC's investigation has been conducted by Gerald Gross, James Hanson, and Paul Gizzi of the New York Regional Office, and the litigation will be handled by Messrs. Gizzi and Hanson. The case is being supervised by Sanjay Wadhwa. The SEC appreciates the assistance of the United States Attorney's Office for the District of New Jersey and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.