November 17, 2021

SEC sues La Mesa financial adviser over selling investments linked to a Ponzi scheme

Federal regulators filed a civil lawsuit charging a La Mesa financial adviser with selling unregistered real estate securities to investors in what turned out to be a Ponzi scheme.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is seeking the return of sales commissions, civil penalties and other measures against Robert Joseph Armijo and his company, Joseph Financial.

According to the SEC, Armijo served as an independent sales agent for investments managed by Florida-based EquiAlt LCC from 2016 until early 2020, when the SEC intervened against the operation.

EquiAlt promised to use investor money to purchase real estate in distressed markets, and these properties would generate enough revenue to pay investors an 8 percent to 10 percent annual return.

But EquiAlt was unprofitable almost from inception, according to the SEC, and used new investor money to pay interest to earlier investors in a classic Ponzi scheme.

Overall, EquiAlt snared…

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