SEC says no settlement discussions held with Renwick Haddow’s co-conspirator

Maria Nikolova

In light of the pending criminal case against Savraj Gata-Aura, the parties have not held settlement discussions of the civil matter.

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has filed a Letter with the New York Southern District Court about the status of the civil proceedings targeting Savraj Gata-Aura, a/k/a “Sam Aura,” one of the co-conspirator of Ponzi scammer Renwick Haddow.

The document, filed on July 9, 2019, and seen by FinanceFeeds, says there have been no settlement discussions between the SEC and the defendants.

The SEC explains that, in light of the pending criminal case against Gata-Aura, the parties have not held settlement discussions of this civil matter. The parties do not believe that a settlement conference with the Court would be appropriate at this point in time.

Let’s recall that, in May this year, Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney Jr., the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), announced the unsealing of an Indictment charging Gata-Aura with wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud for engaging in a scheme to defraud victims by making material misrepresentations about the management and operations of a company called Bar Works Inc. and related entities.

The lawsuit brought by the SEC is the third in a series of cases involving the Bar Works offering fraud conducted primarily in New York City, but involving investors from around the world. The two related civil matters before the New York Southern District Court are SEC v. Renwick Haddow, et. al., 17-cv.-4950 and SEC v. James Bernard Moore and Universal Voicetech, Inc., 18-cv.-7803. Both matters are currently stayed pursuant to existing related criminal matters against Renwick Haddow and James Moore.

Bar Works, Inc. and Bar Works 7th Avenue, Inc. were ostensibly start-up companies that would take vacant restaurants and bars and convert them into cooperative working spaces that could be leased by individuals or companies. In order to finance these activities, Bar Works raised money from investors pursuant to leases that guaranteed investors a fixed rate of return. In reality, Bar Works was an offering fraud run by Renwick Haddow, whose prior regulatory history with the United Kingdom Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), if revealed, would have compromised the ability of Bar Works to raise funds. Haddow created a fictional alter-ego “Jonathan Black” to be the face of Bar Works.

The SEC’s Complaint alleges that between September 2015 and June 2017, Gata-Aura and his company Core Agents Ltd. operated a network of sales agents who sold investments in Bar Works to individuals around the world. The complaint further alleges that Gata-Aura knew that Jonathan Black was a fiction, knew that Haddow ran Bar Works, and knew that Bar Works’ offering documents were materially false and misleading. The defendants are alleged to have raised over $10 million for the Bar Works fraud, and received over $2.9 million for their efforts.

The defendants have been charged in this matter with aiding and abetting the fraud conducted by Haddow and Bar Works.

In addition to injunctive relief, the SEC seeks disgorgement, on a joint and several basis, of approximately $2.9 million. The regulator reserves the right to seek to increase this amount of this claim if discovery reveals that the defendants obtained more than this amount pursuant to the Bar Works fraud.

The parties in the civil case launched by the SEC have not conducted any discovery, aside from the SEC’s pre-filing investigation into the Bar Works matter.

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