The Latest From Greg W. Anderson, Fort Collins, Colorado Financial Advisor
By Greg Anderson
In December 2017, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed criminal charges against California’s Woodbridge Group of Companies, LLC, along with the Group’s former owner Robert Shapiro. 281 subsidiary companies were also named in the criminal filing. The SEC charges filed against Woodbridge and Shapiro were centered on operating a complex investment scheme where nearly 8500 investors to the group of companies lost their savings. In all, more than 2000 investors lost all of their retirement savings. According to the SEC criminal filing, the fraudulent Woodbridge scheme netted the perpetrators just over $1 billion.
Former owner and CEO Robert Shapiro was sentenced to 25 years in prison and ordered to pay back $125 million in restitution and fines. He is currently serving his sentence. Woodbridge was ordered to pay $825 million. The group of luxury real estate companies filed bankruptcy as an attempt to shield assets. Nevertheless, the distribution of funds to bilked investors is a good first step in settling the case.
Distributions in 2020 and 2021Greg W. Anderson, a prominent retirement planning expert and the founder of Balanced Financial, Inc., made it his mission to inform the public about the Woodbridge scandal. Since the initial court filing, Woodbridge has been ordered to reimburse investors.
The first distribution of 2021 is set to take place at the end of January. The Woodbridge Liquidation Trust declared an aggregate cash distribution of $50,000,000, which is equal to $4.28 per Class A Interest. Holders of record of these Interests will receive distributions. Four similar distributions took place in 2020; so far, these distributions equal about 30% of the total principal lost by investors.
Several law firms and attorneys who helped create the initial scheme are being sued by the bankruptcy trustee on behalf of investors. In addition, a class-action lawsuit against Comerica Bank was filed. In that lawsuit, plaintiffs are seeking $40 million in damages, alleging that the bank aided and abetted Shapiro and other Woodbridge stakeholders in the investment scam. Greg Anderson will continue to share information and updates on the lawsuits as well as the distributions on his personal website. As the author of “Woodbridge and the Lessons Learned”, he has been an invaluable source of information for people harmed by the scheme.