Horizon Private Equity Ponzi Scheme Investor Update

June 22, 2022

SEC Charges Three Investment Advisers for Recommending Horizon Ponzi Scheme

National investment fraud lawyers KlaymanToskes is currently representing investors of the Horizon Private Equity III Fund, which is an alleged Ponzi scheme that raised over $110 million from over 400 investors. In June 2022, the Securities & Exchange Commission filed a civil action against three investment advisers for their role in the scheme, which follows the Commission’s August 2021 action against Johns Woods and Southport Capital.

SEC Charges Michael Mooney, Penny Flippen, and Britt Wright for Role in Horizon Private Equity Ponzi Scheme

On June 10, 2022, the SEC filed a civil action in the United Stated District Court for the Northern District of Georgia against Michael Mooney, Britt Wright, and Penny Flippen in connection with their participation in the Horizon Private Equity III Ponzi scheme. According to the Complaint, three investment advisers with Southport Capital – Penny Flippen, Britt Wright and Michael Mooney – allegedly recommended that their clients invest or maintain at least $62 million in Horizon Private Equity, III. This was a private investment fund controlled by John J. Woods, who is Southport’s former owner and manager.

Who Invested in the Horizon Private Equity III Fund?

According to the Complaint, many of Mooney, Flippen, and Wright’s clients were elderly and inexperienced investors. These customers had allegedly communicated to the investment advisers that they wanted safe investment opportunities for their assets. Importantly, a large percentage of their assets were earmarked for retirement.

The three investment advisers allegedly ignored “significant red flags” during their time at Southport Capital in relation to the Ponzi scheme. For instance, Flippen, Mooney, and Wright ignored the fact that Woods instructed the advisers not to use their Southport email addresses when communicating about Horizon. The three advisers also falsely told their clients Horizon would use the funds they invested to:

  • purchase safe investments
  • Horizon would pay them a guaranteed rate of return; and
  • they could get their principal back without penalty.

However, Horizon earned very few profits from investments, and investor proceeds were used primarily to make principal and interest payments to earlier Horizon investors and to fund Woods’ personal projects.

Oppenheimer Failed to Supervise John Woods

KlaymanToskes is currently representing investors who lost money in the Horizon Private Equity III Fund. Specifically, the firm is pursuing claims against Oppenheimer & Co., Inc. for its failure to supervise John Woods for his role in the scheme.

From 2008 to 2016, Horizon Private Equity III mastermind John Woods and his brother Jim Woods allegedly solicited a significant number of customers from Oppenheimer to invest in Horizon while Woods was registered as a broker and investment adviser with the brokerage firm. Investors were told they would earn a return by investing in government bonds, stocks or real estate projects. However, Horizon has allegedly not earned any significant profits from these investments, and were only able to pay the guaranteed return to existing investors by raising and using new money.

Investment Loss Recovery for Horizon Private Equity III Investors

Current and former Oppenheimer customers who invested in Horizon from 2008 to 2016 and who have information related to the handling of their investments, are encouraged to contact securities attorney Lawrence L. Klayman, Esq., at 1 (888) 997-9956.

About KlaymanToskes

KlaymanToskes is a leading national securities law firm which practices exclusively in the field of securities arbitration on behalf of retail and institutional investors throughout the world in large and complex securities matters. KlaymanToskes has recovered more than $220 million for investors in FINRA arbitrations. KlaymanToskes has office locations in California, Florida, New York, and Puerto Rico.


Lawrence L. Klayman, Esq.
+1 (888) 997-9956