SEC Charges Florida Resident with Operating a $2.3 Million Ponzi Scheme Targeting Haitian-American Community

Litigation Release No. 25521 / September 26 2022

Securities and Exchange Commission v. Judith Paris-Pinder, No. 1:22-cv-23100 (S.D. Fla. filed September 26, 2022)

The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged Miami-Dade County resident Judith Paris-Pinder alleging that she fraudulently raised approximately $2,300,000 from over 280 investors through an unregistered securities offering, targeting members of the Haitian and Haitian-American community in South Florida and elsewhere.

The SEC's complaint alleges that from at least 2019 to 2021, Pinder offered loan agreements to investors promising returns of up to 50%, within 30 to 90 days. As alleged, Pinder made statements to investors claiming the investment was safe and that investor funds would be used to make advance loans to personal injury clients of a prominent Miami-based attorney. In fact, as the SEC alleges, Pinder, misappropriated investor funds and used investor funds to make Ponzi-like distributions to investors.

The SEC's complaint, filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, charges Pinder with violating the registration provisions of Section 5 of the Securities Act of 1933 (Securities Act). The complaint also charges Pinder with violating the antifraud provisions of Section 17(a) of the Securities Act and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder. The SEC seeks permanent injunctive relief, an officer-and-director bar, disgorgement of allegedly ill-gotten gains plus prejudgment interest, and civil penalties against Pinder.

Pinder has consented to a bifurcated settlement, subject to court approval, under which she will be enjoined from violating the charged provisions of the federal securities laws and barred from serving as an officer or director of any SEC-reporting company. Additionally, Pinder agrees that the court will determine whether it is appropriate to order her to pay disgorgement with prejudgment interest and a civil penalty. In a parallel action, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida today announced criminal charges against Pinder.

The SEC's investigation was part of the Miami Regional Office's Fraud Against Minority Groups Initiative and was conducted by Najwa-Monique Sharpe and Julia D'Antonio in the Miami Regional Office and supervised by Thierry Olivier Desmet, Fernando Torres, and Glenn S. Gordon. The SEC's litigation will be led by Teresa J. Verges. The SEC appreciates the assistance of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Florida Office of Financial Regulation.