SEC Charges South Florida Man and Others with Real Estate Investment Fraud

Litigation Release No. 25540 / September 30, 2022

Securities and Exchange Commission v. RBF Trust LLC (a Florida Limited Liability Company), Paulo Fernando De Bastos, Joao Pedro Fonseca, RBF Trust LLC (a Michigan Limited Liability Company), D3 Gestion Immobiliere LLC (a Michigan Limited Liability Company), and D3 Gestion Immobiliere LLC (a Florida Limited Liability Company), No. 22-civ-61831 (S.D. Fla. Filed September 29, 2022)

The Securities and Exchange Commission announced today that it filed charges against Paulo Fernando De Bastos, a Florida real estate agent, Joao Pedro Fonseca, a resident of France, and four companies they owned or controlled for their roles in an alleged real estate investment fraud in Detroit, Michigan.

The SEC's complaint alleges from 2016 to early 2020, De Bastos and Fonseca conducted a fraudulent, unregistered securities offering, raising more than $40 million from hundreds of investors in connection with the sale and management of investment properties in Detroit, Michigan. According to the SEC's complaint, De Bastos, Fonseca, RBF Trust LLC, and other companies owned and controlled by De Bastos and Fonseca sold more than 900 properties to investors without actually owning the properties they were selling in a majority of the transactions. The SEC's complaint alleges De Bastos and D3 Gestion Immobiliere LLC misrepresented they would manage completely the properties and guarantee the properties had paying tenants.

The SEC's complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, charges De Bastos, Fonseca, RBF Trust, and D3 Gestion with violating the anti-fraud 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 complaint also charges De Bastos and Fonseca with violating the registration provisions of Sections 5(a) and (c) of the Securities Act, and De Bastos with violating the broker-dealer registration provisions of Section 15(a)(1) of the Exchange Act. The SEC seeks permanent injunctive relief, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains with prejudgment interest and civil penalties against all defendants, as well as officer-and-director bars against De Bastos and Fonseca.

The SEC's investigation was conducted by John T. Houchin and Mark Dee, and supervised by Eric Busto and Glenn Gordon in the Miami Regional Office. The SEC's litigation is being led by Amie Berlin and supervised by Teresa Verges.