US Govt updates on proceedings against co-conspirator of Ponzi scammer Renwick Haddow

Maria Nikolova

On November 18, 2019, Savraj Gata-Aura pleaded guilty to Count One of the S1 Indictment, conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

The United States Government has provided an update on the proceedings against Savraj Gata-Aura, a co-conspirator of Ponzi scammer Renwick Haddow.

In a filing with the New York Southern District Court on November 19, 2019, the Government says that on November 18, 2019, the defendant pleaded guilty to Count One of the S1 Indictment, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349. Sentencing has been scheduled for March 18, 2020 at 4:00 p.m. before Judge Rakoff.

The brief update was provided as a part of the docket of the case launched by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) against Gata-Aura.

Back in July, the SEC explained that, in light of the pending criminal case against Gata-Aura, the parties had not held settlement discussions of the civil matter.

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.

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.

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