A 57-year-old Lantana area man has agreed to stop violating securities laws after federal regulators accused him of mishandling more than $1 million people invested in Palm Beach Atlantic Financial Group.
William Smith also agreed to pay $75,000 to settle the civil lawsuit the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed against him and his company this week.
The agreement doesn’t mean that Smith won’t face further action, including possible criminal charges, according to the agreement that was approved by a federal judge.
From 2014 to 2017, Smith solicited investments from people across the country by falsely claiming their money would be invested in specific real estate projects, according to SEC attorney Olivia Choe.
Instead, Smith transferred hundreds of thousands of dollars between projects and used money from recent investors to pay off those who had invested earlier, Choe said.
A licensed real estate broker, he further misled investors by falsely claiming he was a successful property investor. At least 30 people were victims of the scheme, she said.
In agreeing to settle the civil lawsuit, Smith said he wasn’t admitting to any wrongdoing.