Litigation Release No. 22496 / September 27, 2012

SEC v. Bradley A. Holcom, Civ. No. 3:12-cv-01623 (S.D. Cal.);

SEC v. Jose L. Pinedo, Civ. No. 3:12-cv-01620 (S.D. Cal.).

SEC Brings Charges in $42 Million Offering Fraud Targeting Seniors

The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced charges against Bradley A. Holcom, of Welches, Oregon, and Jose L. Pinedo, of San Diego, California, in connection with a fraudulent scheme that sold $42 million of promissory notes to more than 150 investors located across the United States, many of whom are senior citizens.

According to the complaint against Holcom, he lured investors by offering them guaranteed monthly interest payments on purportedly safe deals. He promised that their funds would be used to finance the development of specific pieces of real estate, and that each investment would be fully secured. In reality, the investments were unsecured, and the same piece of underlying property was often pledged as purported collateral on numerous investors' promissory notes.

In addition to his misrepresentations, the complaint alleges that Holcom was also running a classic Ponzi scheme. While Holcom used some of the investors' money to develop real estate, he also relied on those funds to make interest and principal payments on promissory notes as they came due. Holcom also used investor funds for personal use and on unrelated business ventures. By 2008, as the real estate market declined, Holcom's scheme collapsed. Investors lost principal in excess of $25 million.

The Commission also alleges that Pinedo, who served as Holcom's bookkeeper and as an officer or manager of Holcom's numerous corporate entities, routinely signed promissory notes and other false and misleading documents that were sent to investors.

The Commission alleges that Holcom violated Sections 5(a), 5(c), and 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 ("Securities Act"), Sections 10(b) and 15(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rule 10b-5 thereunder. The Commission is seeking a permanent injunction, disgorgement plus pre- and post-judgment interest, and civil penalties against Holcom. Without admitting or denying the allegations in the Commission's complaint against him, Pinedo has agreed to settle the matter, and consented to a final judgment enjoining him from violations of Sections 5(a), 5(c), 17(a)(2) and 17(a)(3) of the Securities Act.