SEC Charges Three New Yorkers for Raising More Than $184 Million Through Pre-IPO Fraud Schemes

The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged three individuals with fraud for selling unregistered membership interests in LLCs that purported to invest in shares of pre-IPO companies, first on behalf of StraightPath Venture Partners LLC, the subject of the Commission’s emergency action in May 2022, and, later, on behalf of Legend Venture Partners LLC, the subject of the Commission’s emergency action in June 2023. Both StraightPath and Legend are now under court-ordered receiverships.

In this new action, the SEC alleges that New York residents Mario Gogliormella, Steven Lacaj, and Karim Ibrahim directed an unregistered sales force of more than 50 callers in boiler rooms to pressure investors into making investments without telling them that the shares had been substantially marked up—between approximately 19 and 105 percent on average above the prices that StraightPath or Legend had paid for the underlying shares. As a result of these tactics, the defendants and their sales force allegedly pocketed more than $45 million in fees from unsuspecting investors from 2019 to 2022.

Source: SEC Charges Three New Yorkers for Raising More Than $184 Million Through Pre-IPO Fraud Schemes