The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced fraud charges and an emergency asset freeze obtained against a businessman in South Carolina accused of siphoning funds he raised from investors for the purpose of purchasing or renovating senior housing facilities.
The SEC alleges that Dwayne Edwards improperly commingled money from several different municipal bond offerings and the revenues of the facilities underlying the offerings. The offerings were each supposed to finance a particular assisted living or memory care facility in Georgia or Alabama. From the commingled funds, Edwards allegedly diverted investor money for personal use as well as to finance other unrelated bond offerings.
“As alleged in our complaint, investors thought they were investing in a single senior housing project while their money was actually being used to fund an ever-expanding web of affiliated facilities and the personal expenses of Edwards and his friends and family,” said Andrew M. Calamari, Director of the SEC’s New York Regional Office.
The SEC’s complaint, filed January 20 in federal district court in Newark, N.J., also charges Edwards’s former business partner Todd Barker, who agreed to a bifurcated settlement with monetary sanctions to be determined at a later date.
The court issued an order at the SEC’s request freezing the assets of Edwards and certain relief defendants. The court also appointed a temporary receiver over the facilities.
The SEC’s investigation, which is continuing, is being conducted by Lee A. Greenwood, David H. Tutor, Kerri L. Palen, and Sandeep Satwalekar. The case is being supervised by Lara S. Mehraban, and the litigation is being handled by Mr. Greenwood, Mr. Tutor, Neal Jacobson, and Alexander Vasilescu.