SEC Obtains Final Judgment Against Municipal Advisor and Its Owner in Municipal Bond Offering Schemes
Litigation Release No. 25511 / September 19, 2022
Securities and Exchange Commission v. Aaron B. Fletcher, et al., No. 3:22-cv-01467 (W.D. La. filed June 2, 2022)
On August 2, 2022, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana entered a final judgment against defendants Aaron B. Fletcher and Twin Spires Financial LLC for their involvement in two fraudulent municipal bond offerings and their failure to register as a municipal advisor.
According to the SEC's June 2, 2022 complaint, in 2017 and 2018 the town of Sterlington, Louisiana issued two revenue bonds to finance the development of a water system and improvements to its existing sewer system. As required by state law, Sterlington applied to the Louisiana State Bond Commission (SBC) for approval of the two offerings. The SEC alleged that Sterlington submitted false financial projections, created by Fletcher and Twin Spires, which substantially overstated the number of historical and projected sewer customers in order to mislead the SBC as to the town's ability to cover the debt service for the proposed bonds. The SEC alleged bond investors were not informed that SBC approval of the bonds was based on the false projections. SEC further alleged that Twin Spires and Fletcher provided municipal advisory services to Sterlington without Twin Spires being registered as a municipal advisor with the Commission.
Fletcher and Twin Spires, without admitting or denying liability, consented to the entry of judgments enjoining them from, among other things, future violations of the anti-fraud and municipal advisor registration provisions of the federal securities laws and agreed to pay disgorgement, prejudgment interest, and civil penalties in amounts to be determined by the Court.
After the Commission filed its motion for remedies, the Court entered final judgment against Fletcher and Twin Spires and ordered them to pay, on a joint and several basis: (a) disgorgement of $26,303 and prejudgment interest of $6,642.88; and (2) a $200,000 civil penalty.
The SEC's litigation was conducted by William Hicks and Graham Loomis of the Atlanta Regional Office.