US Govt pushes for prison sentence of 60-97 months for co-conspirator of Ponzi scammer Renwick Haddow

Maria Nikolova

The Government argues that in light of the magnitude of the fraud and Savraj Gata-Aura’s critical role in it, a sentence of incarceration from 60 to 97 months would be sufficient.

Shortly after Savraj Gata-Aura, a co-conspirator of Ponzi scammer Renwick Haddow, asked the Court for a non-custodial sentence, the United States Government submitted a memorandum in connection with the sentencing of Gata-Aura.

The document, seen by FinanceFeeds, reveals that the US Government is pushing for a prison sentence of up to 97 months for the defendant.

The Government notes that, from approximately September 2015 through June 2017, Gata-Aura helped run a massive international Ponzi scheme in a co-working space company called Bar Works. The scheme ensnared over 800 victims worldwide who invested over $50 million in co-working spaces that guaranteed an annual return of approximately 14-16% of their investment.

Among other things, investors were deceived about Bar Works’ supposed profitability, the particular workspaces they invested in (which largely existed on paper only), and even the basic identity of Bar Works’ management. Specifically, while the Bar Works offering materials represented the company to have been founded and run by CEO “Jonathan Black,” Black did not exist. The real owner and operator of Bar Works was Renwick Haddow, a U.K. citizen who had previously gained notoriety for operating multiple widely-publicized Ponzi schemes in the U.K. through which investors lost millions of pounds.

For much of the Bar Works scheme, Gata-Aura served as Haddow’s functional right hand man, and the force that brought nearly $40 million of investors’ money through an extensive agent network fueled by huge commissions. Gata-Aura knew the truth about Haddow and “Jonathan Black.” He became aware of the fact that Bar Works’ legitimate revenues from paying members were too meager to even pay the company’s own expenses, much less support guarantees of 14-16% yearly returns to investors. He knew that investors were largely paid out of other investors’ money. He nonetheless lied repeatedly to agents and investors to grow and prolong the Ponzi scheme and solicit new funds.

In exchange for his efforts, Gata-Aura received approximately $3 million from victim funds.

The applicable Sentencing Guidelines range in this case is 97 to 121 months’ imprisonment. The Probation Office has recommended a sentence of 60 months’ imprisonment. The Government argues that in light of the magnitude of this fraud and Gata-Aura’s critical role in it, a sentence of incarceration between approximately 60 and 97 months would be sufficient but not greater than necessary to serve the essential sentencing goals in this case.

The sentencing of Gata-Aura is currently scheduled for July 27, 2020.

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