Horizon Private Equity


August 23, 2021

Type of alert:

Ponzi Scheme  

The attorneys at ChapmanAlbin and Kuglar Law are preparing to bring claims on behalf of individuals who invested money in Horizon Private Equity through John J. Woods, his brother, James Wallace Woods, his cousin, Michael J. Mooney, and/or other Southport Capital advisors. On Friday, August 21, 2021, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) filed suit against Horizon alleging that Horizon was not a legitimate investment, but a $100 million Ponzi scheme. According to the SEC Complaint, many of Horizon’s investors are elderly retirees who were preyed upon by investment advisors at Livingston Group Asset Management Company d/b/a Southport Capital.

According to the SEC, Southport and John Woods, the architects of the Horizon Ponzi scheme, told investors they would receive guaranteed returns of 6-7% for investments in Horizon. Woods and Southport generally explained to investors that Horizon invested in government bonds, stocks, or small real estate projects. In reality, investor dollars were primarily used to pay back earlier investors, in typical Ponzi scheme fashion.

Woods, a Marietta Georgia resident, began soliciting Horizon investments in 2008. At the time, he was an Oppenheimer broker and advisor. He left Oppenheimer in 2016, when they permitted him to resign, upon information and belief, because of his Horizon sales to investors, including Oppenheimer customers.

Over the years, Woods has told investors that Horizon:

  • Is very safe and conservative;
  • Would pay a fixed or guaranteed rate of return;
  • Returns to Horizon investors would be paid from profits of Horizon’s investments;
  • Investors could get their principal back without penalty after a 30 or 90-day waiting period;
  • There is no possibility of losing the principal invested in Horizon;
  • Is like an annuity; and/or
  • Is sponsored or offered by Oppenheimer.

According to the SEC, each of these statements was false. In addition, Woods and other Southport advisors who solicited Horizon, including Woods’ brother and cousin, never told investors that Horizon funds would or could be used to pay back earlier investors.

According to the SEC Complaint, there are more than 400 investors in Horizon residing in over 20 states, who are owed $110 million. The SEC alleges the scheme was raking in as much as $600,000 per month. The scheme is still paying “interest” to its investors who, presumably, are unaware that Horizon is an alleged scam. Unfortunately, those interest payments are about to stop now that the SEC has stepped in and is seeking to shut down Horizon.

The SEC states in its complaint that Woods and Southport’s assets are worth far too little for there to be any realistic prospect that investors will be able to recover from Southport, Woods, and/or Horizon. Because of this, the attorneys at ChapmanAlbin and Kuglar Law are preparing claims against third parties who they believe were involved in or helped to actively conceal the scheme including, upon information and belief, Oppenheimer and/or attorneys and accountants who were complicit in the alleged scheme.

For even more information regarding this case, see this Law360 article quoting John Chapman. According to John, “It’s pretty extraordinary that something this large and widespread persisted for as long as it did.”

If you invested in Horizon Private Equity, we would like to discuss your potential claims against Oppenheimer and others. Please call 1-877-410-8172 to speak to an experienced investor loss recovery attorney.

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