In a recent development, an Orange County businessman named Jacques Poujade has pleaded guilty to fraudulently obtaining over $5.2 million by making false promises of his company’s purported initial public offering (IPO). Poujade, the owner and chief financial officer of Tri-Emerald Financial Group, deceived an investor by lying about the timing and likelihood of the IPO, leading the victim to purchase shares at an inflated price. Poujade admitted to using a substantial portion of the funds for personal expenses and lulling payments to previous investors. He now faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.
The owner of an Orange County real estate finance business, Jacques Poujade, has recently pleaded guilty to fraudulently obtaining over $5.2 million by making false promises regarding his company’s purported IPO. Poujade is the owner and chief financial officer of Tri-Emerald Financial Group, a realty services company based in Lake Forest. Tri-Emerald operated as a residential mortgage lender, funding loans for immediate resale to financial institutions. During the period between February 2015 and May 2020, Poujade sold unregistered securities to an investor, deceiving them with false representations about the timing and likelihood of Tri-Emerald’s IPO and the expected share price.
Details of the Fraud
Tri-Emerald Financial Group, under the ownership of Jacques Poujade, operated as a residential mortgage lender, aiming to hold funded loans for immediate resale to financial institutions. However, Tri-Emerald and its securities were never registered with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Despite this, Poujade sold unregistered securities to an investor between February 2015 and May 2020. He falsely claimed that the shares in Tri-Emerald were “securities” under federal law and falsely represented that the share price would exceed $100 per share once the company went public.
Poujade fraudulently convinced the victim investor that Tri-Emerald was a pre-IPO opportunity that would yield high returns once the company went public on the Nasdaq stock exchange. He made various false promises, including stating that he had engaged investment banks as underwriters for the IPO and that Tri-Emerald would be a billion-dollar company within 16 months. In reality, Tri-Emerald had not completed the necessary steps for an IPO, such as submitting the required SEC paperwork or formally engaging investment banks as underwriters.
Furthermore, Poujade misused a substantial portion of the funds obtained from the victim investor. Rather than using the funds for IPO costs, as promised, Poujade used the money for general Tri-Emerald operating expenses, making payments to previous investors, and even personal expenditures. In total, Poujade fraudulently obtained approximately $5,255,600 from the victim investor.
In addition to this case, Poujade admitted to defrauding another victim and their investment group in July 2016. He convinced them to purchase 30-day promissory notes issued by LendPlus Holdings, another company owned by Poujade. These notes were supposed to increase Tri-Emerald’s warehouse line of credit. However, instead of repaying the investors at the end of the term, Poujade continuously rolled over their funds into the next month. He falsely claimed that the investors’ money was safe in a reserve account, while he used a significant portion for personal expenses, payments to previous investors, and Tri-Emerald’s operating expenses. Poujade defrauded these investors out of approximately $915,000.
Jacques Poujade has pleaded guilty to one count of securities fraud. As a result, he now faces potential sentencing by United States District Judge Mark C. Scarsi. The scheduled sentencing hearing is set for October 30. Poujade could receive a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison for his fraudulent activities.
Investigation and Prosecution
This case was investigated by the FBI and the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Office of Inspector General. Special Assistant United States Attorney Ryan G. Adams, from the Santa Ana Branch Office, is prosecuting the case against Poujade.
Upcoming Sentencing Hearing
Jacques Poujade’s sentencing hearing is scheduled to take place on October 30 before United States District Judge Mark C. Scarsi. During this hearing, the judge will consider the evidence presented and the potential sentencing guidelines for the securities fraud committed by Poujade. The outcome of the hearing and the final sentencing decision will depend on the judge’s evaluation of the case.
Various factors will be taken into consideration during the sentencing hearing. These factors may include the extent of the financial harm caused by Poujade’s fraudulent activities, the duration of the fraud, the number of victims affected, and Poujade’s level of cooperation with the authorities. The judge will review all relevant details and arguments presented by the prosecution and defense before reaching a final decision on the appropriate sentencing.
Other Recent Securities Fraud Cases
Apart from the case involving Jacques Poujade, there have been several other instances of securities fraud that have come to light in recent times. These cases serve as a reminder of the importance of regulatory oversight and enforcement to protect investors and maintain the integrity of financial markets. Some notable examples include:
Barbados Resident’s $3.1 Million Stock Scam
A Barbados resident, who posed as an experienced Wall Street stock trader, has been charged with running a securities scam. It is alleged that this individual caused victim investors to lose approximately $3.1 million through fraudulent stock trading activities. The case serves as a reminder of the risks associated with investment scams and the ongoing efforts by law enforcement agencies to identify and prosecute those involved in such fraudulent schemes.
CEO of Ontrak Inc.’s Insider Trading Scheme
The CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Ontrak Inc., a publicly traded health care company based in Nevada, has been charged with federal crimes related to an alleged insider trading scheme. The indictment alleges that the CEO engaged in illegal trading activities based on non-public information, thereby undermining the fairness and transparency of the financial markets. The case highlights the importance of maintaining trust and confidence in the corporate sector and the need for vigilant regulatory oversight.
Rhode Island Man’s Swindling of ‘Magic Mike’ Investors
A Rhode Island man pleaded guilty to charges related to swindling victims who believed they were investing in the ‘Magic Mike’ stage show. The defendant fraudulently convinced individuals to invest in a fictional production based on the popular movie franchise, ultimately defrauding them out of significant amounts of money. This case serves as a cautionary tale, reminding investors to exercise due diligence and skepticism when evaluating investment opportunities.
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