March 10, 2016 – Kaplan Fox & Kilsheimer LLP (www.kaplanfox.com) has been investigating Oregon-based Aequitas Management LLC (“Aequitas” or the "Company"). On March 10, 2016, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) charged Aequitas and three senior executives “with hiding the rapidly deteriorating financial condition of its enterprise while raising more than $350 million from investors.”
The SEC alleges that Aequitas and four affiliates defrauded more than 1,500 investors nationwide into “believing they were making health care, education, and transportation-related investments when their money was really being used in a last-ditch effort to save the firm. Some money from new investors was allegedly used to pay earlier investors.”
The SEC’s complaint alleges that CEO Robert J. Jesenik and executive vice president Brian A. Oliver were “well aware of Aequitas’s calamitous financial condition yet continued to solicit millions of dollars from investors to pay the firm’s ever-increasing expenses and attempt to stave off the impending collapse. Former CFO and chief operating officer N. Scott Gillis allegedly concealed the firm’s insolvency from investors and was aware that Jesenik and Oliver continued soliciting investors so that Aequitas could pay operating expenses and repay earlier investors with money from new investors.”
According to the SEC’s complaint:
- From January 2014 to January 2016, Aequitas raised money from investors by issuing promissory notes with high rates of return typically ranging from 8.5 to 10 percent.
- While Aequitas did use some investor money to acquire trade receivables in health care, education, transportation, and other consumer credit sectors, the vast majority was concentrated in student loan receivables of for-profit education provider Corinthian Colleges. Corinthian defaulted on its recourse obligations to Aequitas in mid-2014, which significantly exacerbated the firm’s already severe cash flow problems.
- The executives continued to draw their lucrative salaries, use a private jet, and attend posh dinner and golf outings, all at the expense of investors. They used the outings to raise more money from investors. Jesenik, Oliver, and Gillis took home at least $2.5 million in combined salaries during this period.
- By November 2015, Aequitas could no longer meet scheduled redemptions. In February 2016, the Company dismissed two-thirds of its employees and hired a chief restructuring officer.
If you purchased securities from Aequitas or its affiliates and would like to discuss our investigation, please contact us by e-mailing
or by calling 800-290-1952.
Click here for the SEC Complaint
Attorneys: Laurence D. King, Jeffrey P. Campisi