SEC Charges Additional Parties in Fraudulent Investment Scheme

Litigation Release No. 24479 / May 23, 2019

Securities and Exchange Commission v. Savraj Gata-Aura (a/k/a Samuel Aura a/k/a Sam Aura) and Core Agents, Ltd. (d/b/a Core Agents International, Ltd.), Civil Action No. 19-cv-4780 (S.D.N.Y., filed May 23, 2019)

The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged Savraj Gata-Aura and a company he controls, Core Agents Ltd., with aiding and abetting an investment scheme that defrauded investors of more than $30 million.

The SEC alleges that Gata-Aura, a New York resident, recruited a network of sales agents to sell fraudulent investments in co-working spaces Bar Works, Inc. and Bar Works 7th Avenue, Inc. using false and misleading offering materials. The materials touted the background of Bar Works' purported CEO, "Jonathan Black," and omitted any mention of Renwick Haddow, the actual individual controlling the entities. According to the SEC's complaint, Gata-Aura knew that "Black" was a fictitious name for a person who did not exist, that Haddow secretly ran the Bar Works companies, and that Haddow had previously been sued in the United Kingdom by the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority for an unrelated investment scheme. The complaint further alleges that from September 2015 to June 2017, Gata-Aura and Core Agents raised over $10 million from at least 100 investors for the fraudulent investments. As alleged, in return for their role in selling the fraudulent investments, Gata-Aura and Core Agents received commissions that totaled at least $2.9 million from Haddow and the Bar Works companies.

The SEC's complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, charges Gata-Aura and Core Agents with aiding and abetting Haddow's and the Bar Works companies' 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 previously charged Haddow and the Bar Works companies with violating the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws.

In a parallel action, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York today announced criminal charges against Gata-Aura. The SEC's investigation was conducted by Alison R. Levine, Christopher J. Dunnigan, Neil Hendelman, and Sandeep Satwalekar. The case is being supervised by Lara Shalov Mehraban. The litigation will be handled by Mr. Dunnigan and Ms. Levine. The SEC appreciates the assistance of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.