The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently charged a Chattanooga investment firm and its high-profile owner in a $110 million Ponzi scheme that, according to court records, lasted more than a decade.
First, however, the requisite disclaimer: The SEC has merely charged John Woods and Southport Capital with six counts of securities fraud. Although a judge has named a receiver to oversee frozen assets of Woods and Southport, our court system presumes innocence until a jury determines otherwise.
The 400 victims described in the SEC’s August 20 complaint, most of them elderly retirees, are not similarly required to withhold judgement.
John Woods, a minority owner of the Chattanooga Lookouts minor league baseball team, purchased the investment advisory firm Southport Capital in 2008, while still an employee of Oppenheimer & Co. In its 38-page complaint, the SEC alleges that Woods used both Southport and his position at Oppenheimer to solicit…