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Two charged in the US for securities violation connected to Placencia airport scam

Posted: Tuesday, August 25, 2020. 7:37 pm CST.

By BBN Staff: The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has arrested and charged two US brokers with a crime called “selling away” for “acting as unregistered brokers in the sales of securities issued by Belize Infrastructure Fund I, LLC.”

According to a report from the SEC, the men, Minish Hede and Kevin Graetz sold approximately $9.6 million worth of Belize Fund notes to their customers at the brokerage firm where they were then employed, even though the firm had already declined to approve the Belize Fund’s notes for offer and sale to its customers. As alleged, by selling a security that was not approved by the firm, Hede and Graetz engaged in a prohibited practice called “selling away.”

The complaint alleges that Hede and Graetz profited through the commissions from the sales, while the firm’s customers suffered significant losses.

The SEC charged Belize Fund and its owner, Brent Borland, in 2018, alleging that Borland misappropriated more than $5.98 million of funds obtained from investors in Belize Fund notes and used the stolen principal to fund his family’s lavish lifestyle.

The SEC’s complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, alleges that Hede and Graetz violated the broker registration provisions of Section 15(a) the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The SEC seeks injunctive relief, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains and prejudgment interest, and civil money penalties.

In 2019, Borland, plead guilty to a count each of securities fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy in a New York federal court on Wednesday for his role in a scheme which defrauded investors out of US $21.9 million for an airport in Placencia which was never constructed.


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