By Ashley Portero
September 30th, 2020
A Fort Lauderdale attorney is facing fraud charges for allegedly raising $100 million from investors as the outside counsel for 1 Global Capital, the now-bankrupt company accused of defrauding thousands of investors.
Andrew Dale Ledbetter was charged by federal prosecutors with conspiracy to commit wire and securities fraud Sept. 29 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charged Ledbetter with fraud the same day.
Erica L. Perdomo, an attorney representing Ledbetter, declined to comment on the charges.
Hallandale Beach-based 1 Global Capital, a commercial lending business, was charged with civil fraud charges in 2018, shortly after it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The SEC claimed the firm fraudulently raised $322 million from more than 3,400 investors, many of whom were elderly, from 2014 to 2018.
Ledbetter served as outside counsel for the company until his dismissal in August 2018, according to court documents.
Prosecutors allege Ledbetter was personally involved in raising more than $100 million in investor funds that went to 1 Global, nearly a third of the total amount raised during the scheme. Ledbetter and company executives claimed investor money would be used to fund commercial loans in exchange for a share of the principal and interest payments as the loans were repaid, court documents said.
Ledbetter is accused of using false legal opinion letters with misleading information about 1 Global when pitching investors, court documents said. Although he told investors he served as outside counsel for 1 Global, Ledbetter reportedly received $3 million in commissions from the company. He did not disclose those commission payments to investors, court documents said.
If convicted, Ledbetter could face five years in prison.
Former 1 Global COO Steven Allen Schwartz and former CFO Alan Heide previously pleaded guilty to fraud charges tied to the case. Former CEO Carl Ruderman agreed to disgorge $32 million in ill-gotten gains, pay a $15 million civil penalty, turn over $750,000 in cash and give the SEC a 50% interest in his condominium. He was also barred from working in the securities industry.
Last year, a bankruptcy trustee recovered and distributed $112 million to thousands of individuals who lost money investing in 1 Global Capital. Trustee James S. Cassel said investors received an initial repayment of about 40 cents on the dollar.
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