The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged Leonard Vincent Lombardo, a former broker with Stratton Oakmont, his company and his business partner with a bogus real estate investment scheme. The SEC state that “high pressure sales tactics” were used to get “retirees and other investors to part with almost $6 million”.
Leonard Vincent Lombardo has a series of social media accounts and websites where he likes to talk about how wonderful Leonard Vincent Lombardo is, “Leonard Vincent Lombardo is a successful businessman and philanthropist. He founded the Leonard Vincent Lombardo Leukaemia Foundation,” he writes. He quickly closed down a number of them and his Linkedin page no longer exists.
In court, it was stated that Lombardo raised $7.1 million from over 100 retirees and other investors. The high-pressure sales patter convinced them they were putting money into buying up distressed property in a real estate scheme, over a five-year period from 2011 to 2016. The investors were promised a 50% rate of return, but in reality almost none of the money was put to that use.
Cash was syphoned out to underpin his failing electronic cigarette company, the Clearette Cigarette Co, and Lombardo’s ridiculously lavish lifestyle. Clearette’s website, now defunct, claimed “Clearette Cigarette Co., LLC manufactures and markets electronic cigarettes, cigars, and flavoured hookahs and fluids. The company offers disposable electronic cigarettes and hookahs, rechargeable starter kits and cartridges, and electronic cigarette bundles and accessories. The company offers its products through retailers and independent distributors.”
“As alleged in our complaint, retirees entrusted their money to TVLG believing they were investing in high-return real estate investments, not electronic cigarettes or trips to the tanning salon,” said Andrew Calamari, Director of the SEC’s New York Regional Office. “This is another case involving a fraudster trying to look the part of a wealthy financial advisor while doing nothing more than trying to separate people from their hard-earned money.”
Only $1.5 million went on buying property, while $1.3 million was diverted into his personal account. He spent $144,000 on BMW and Mercedes payments, $37,000 at high-end stores, $19,000 for yacht-related costs, $5,500 on tanning and even $2,100 on services for his pets. His wife got a salary of $114,000 even though she did no work.
“Investors should be suspicious anytime they are guaranteed high investment returns,” said Lori Schock, Director of the SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy. “High investment returns typically involve high risk, and cannot be guaranteed.”