SEC Obtains Judgment Against Promoter Who Fraudulently Raised $3 Million for Christian Concerts
Highlights Issue of Fraud in Faith-Based Communities
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington D.C., April 1, 2020 —
The Securities and Exchange Commission has obtained a final judgment against Christian concert promoter Jeffrey E. Wall, of Freeport, Maine, and his business, The Lighthouse Events LLC.
The Commission charged Wall and Lighthouse in April 2019 with operating an egregious community-based financial fraud related to Christian music concerts and festivals. The judgment finds Wall and Lighthouse liable for fraudulently raising more than $3 million in unregistered offerings from approximately 145 investors, many of whom shared Wall’s religious views. Wall had promised investors that their funds would be used solely to promote and host Christian music concerts and festivals and that their investments were “secured” and “guaranteed.” In reality, Wall and Lighthouse used investor funds for a variety of other expenses, including payment of Lighthouse’s existing debt and payments to earlier investors.
“We naturally tend to trust those who share religious or cultural affiliations, but this can leave people vulnerable to investment fraud,” said Paul Levenson, Director of the SEC's Boston Regional Office. “We encourage investors to understand the important details of the investment, such as the use of funds and the risk of loss.”
The SEC's Office of Investor Education and Advocacy issued an Investor Alert, Avoiding Investment Fraud in Your Faith-Based Community, in November 2019. We encourage investors to protect themselves and their communities from fraud targeting members of a shared faith.
On March 31, 2020, U.S. Magistrate Judge John H. Rich III entered summary judgment for the SEC on all of the claims in its complaint. The court’s judgment permanently enjoins Wall and Lighthouse from violating the antifraud and registration provisions of the federal securities laws. The court also ordered Wall and Lighthouse to pay, jointly and severally, $1,589,815 in disgorgement of ill-gotten gains plus $202,056 in prejudgment interest thereon, and individual civil penalties of $1,589,815 against Wall and $1,589,815 against Lighthouse.
The SEC’s case was handled by David London, John McCann, and Michele T. Perillo of the Boston Regional Office.