Prosecutors in Miami have announced charges against a Fort Lauderdale attorney for his alleged involvement in an investment fraud scheme that reportedly scammed more than 3,600 investors in 42 states and fraudulently raised more than $100 million.
Andrew Dale Ledbetter, 78, was charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and securities fraud. It is unclear if he has acquired legal representation.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the accused was an attorney licensed in Florida who allegedly acted as outside counsel for a commercial lending business based in Hallandale Beach called 1 Global Capital, LLC. The company reportedly provided the equivalent of “pay day” loans with high-interest rates to small businesses, which it called “merchant cash advance loans.”
To fund those loans, the company allegedly acquired funds from investors nationwide by offering short-term investment contracts that promised to use the investors’ money to fund loans in exchange for a proportionate share of the principal and interest payments when the loans were repaid.
1 Global Capital purportedly raised millions of dollars using investment advisors and other intermediaries who were promised significant commissions. The court filings claim these commissions were not fully disclosed to investors in many cases.
According to court filings, investors, investment advisors, and regulators questioned whether 1 Global Capital was offering or selling a security and whether the investment offering should be registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
The defendant and another attorney identified as Jan Douglas Atlas, who also provided outside counsel for 1 Global Capital, allegedly knew that if the company’s investment offering was classified as a security by the SEC, it would undermine its ability to raise funds from retail investors and continue to operate without substantial additional expenses and reporting requirements. The classification would also undermine the profits and fees that the defendant and other principals would obtain from the company’s operations.
The second accused attorney allegedly wrote two opinion letters in 2016 containing false information that were used by 1 Global Capital to unlawfully operate the business. The letters purportedly falsely described the duration of the investment and, among other things, omitted the automatic renewal aspect of the contract and that the investment was specifically targeting retail investors.
The Fort Lauderdale defendant purportedly used the other attorney’s letters to illegally raise money while knowing that the letters were intentionally misleading. He cited and used the letters in numerous pitches and communications to investment advisors and investors, the filings claim. He was personally involved in raising more than $100 million in investor funds that went to 1 Global Capital, through his own pitches as well as through investment advisors he brought to the company. Over the years, he purportedly received $3 million, the majority of which was for commissions.
The defendant from Lauderdale is one of several individuals who have been charged in connection to the 1 Global Capital fraud scheme. Atlas is among those who have already entered a guilty plea for their alleged involvement in the scheme and is currently awaiting sentencing.
South Florida Fraud Defense Attorney