SEC Obtains Preliminary Injunction and Appointment of a Receiver in Pre-Ipo Stock Fraud by Unregistered Broker-Dealer

(HedgeCo.Net) The Securities and Exchange Commission has obtained a preliminary injunction, appointment of a receiver, and continued partial asset freeze order against StraightPath Venture Partners LLC, StraightPath Management LLC, Brian K. Martinsen, Michael A. Castillero, Francine A. Lanaia, and Eric D. Lachow (collectively, “Defendants”). The Court appointed a receiver over StraightPath Venture Partners LLC, StraightPath Management LLC, and the SP Ventures Partners Funds Defendants managed and advised. The Court also required that Mr. Martinsen, Mr. Castillero, and Ms. Lanaia, who were subject to the initial temporary asset freeze order, pay more than $15 million into the receivership estate and continued a freeze over their real estate holdings.

The preliminary injunction and continued partial asset freeze order, entered by the Honorable Lewis A. Kaplan of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on June 14, 2022, preliminarily enjoined Defendants from violating Sections 5(a), 5(c) and 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, Sections 10(b) and 15(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder, and Sections 206(1), 206(2), 206(3), and 206(4) of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 and Rule 206(4)-8 thereunder. The court’s preliminary injunctions will remain in effect until the litigation of this matter is concluded.

The SEC charged Defendants on May 13, 2022. According to the complaint, Defendants conducted a fraudulent $410 million offering in violation of the securities and broker-dealer registration provisions identified above. Among other things, Defendants allegedly sold pre-Initial Public Offering (IPO) shares they did not own, pocketed undisclosed fees, and commingled investor funds, resulting in Ponzi scheme-like payments.

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