SEC takes action against Coral Gables Asset Management

Maria Nikolova

The SEC’s complaint charges Coral Gables and its owner David C. Coggins with violating antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws.

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has taken an emergency action against Florida-based investment adviser Coral Gables Asset Management LLC and its sole owner, David C. Coggins, in connection with an alleged fraudulent offering.

On August 20, 2020, U.S. District Court Judge Kathleen M. Williams granted the SEC’s request for emergency relief, including an asset freeze and an order for records preservation, against Coggins and Coral Gables, as well as two entities charged by the SEC as relief defendants.

According to the SEC’s complaint, Coral Gables and Coggins solicited investors for a private fund they managed by misrepresenting the fund’s past performance, the amount of assets they were managing, and Coggins’ experience as a portfolio manager.

For instance, the complaint alleges that one document Coggins provided to investors and potential investors showed 37 months of positive monthly performance even though, in reality, in approximately 26 months during the specified timeframe the Fund had negative performance. The complaint further alleges that Coral Gables and Coggins falsified brokerage records and investor account statements and created and sent fake audit opinions to investors and third parties.

As alleged, within hours of receiving a request from the SEC to preserve documents, Coggins destroyed evidence related to his fraudulent conduct.

According to the SEC’s complaint, Coggins misappropriated investor funds for personal use, including a luxury vehicle and travel.

The SEC’s complaint, filed in the Florida Southern District Court, charges Coral Gables and Coggins with violating antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws. The SEC’s complaint also charges Coggins, in the alternative, with aiding and abetting Coral Gables’ violations of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940.

In this action, the regulator seeks injunctions, disgorgement of allegedly ill-gotten gains with prejudgment interest, and financial penalties against the defendants.

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