Oppenheimer & Co. Customer Awarded $1.4M for Horizon Private Equity III Fund Losses

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Updated on: March 21, 2023

KlaymanToskes Seeks Recovery for Horizon Private Equity Investors

National investment fraud lawyers KlaymanToskes continues investigating Oppenheimer & Co. for its sale of Horizon Private Equity III fund to advisory clients, following the filing of FINRA arbitration case 22-00866 last year. Recently, an investor was awarded $1.4 million in compensatory damages against Oppenheimer & Co. for losses in Horizon Private Equity’s alleged decade-long, $110 million Ponzi-like scheme

KlaymanToskes previously reported that approximately 400 victims in 20 states entrusted former Oppenheimer & Co. broker/investment advisor John Justin Woods (CRD# 1949223) with their funds upon his creation of the “Horizon Private Equity III” fund. These investors are encouraged to come forward and pursue a financial recovery for any losses suffered. 

If you suffered investment losses with John Justin Woods, Oppenheimer & Co., and/or Horizon Private Equity, contact attorney Lawrence L. Klayman for a free consultation at 888-997-9956 or lklayman@klaymantoskes.com to discuss your recovery options. We do not collect attorney’s fees unless we are able to obtain a financial recovery for you. 

Horizon Private Equity’s Ponzi-like Scheme: Oppenheimer & Co.’s Liability

According to a FINRA Arbitration Award against Oppenheimer & Co., two former advisory clients of the firm were awarded $1,483,670.00 in compensatory damages ​​related to investment recommendations in the private equity fund Horizon Private Equity III

The investors alleged causes of action including violations of FINRA supervision rules, breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing, breach of fiduciary duty, violation of the California Welfare & Institutions Code, and respondeat superior/agency by estoppel liability. 

In August 2021, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed an emergency action to end the alleged $110 million Ponzi-like scheme. The complaint charged Woods, his companies, and co-conspirators with violating the antifraud provisions of federal securities laws. The SEC alleged that John Justin Woods allegedly created the “Horizon Private Equity III” fund under the supervision of Oppenheimer & Co., and that Oppenheimer’s management aided and concealed Wood’s Ponzi scheme from both regulators and investors. 

Supposedly, all activities related to the Horizon Private Equity III fund occurred at another firm owned and operated by Woods, Southport Capital. According to the complaint, John Woods allegedly solicited his customers, including “many elderly retirees,” to invest in the fraudulent scheme by misleading them with misrepresentations that Horizon Private Equity would generate guaranteed returns. However, “Horizon did not earn any significant profits from legitimate investments” and “a very large percentage of purported ‘returns’ to earlier investors were simply paid out of new investor money.”

Other Brokers/Advisors Who May Have Sold Horizon Equity III

While John Woods resigned from Oppenheimer & Co. in 2016, the Ponzi-like scheme continued raising money from investors until at least July 2021, according to the SEC. In June 2022, the SEC filed a civil action in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia against several of Woods’ co-conspirators for their alleged involvement in the Horizon Ponzi scheme fraud. 

These individuals are said to have further “fueled the Ponzi scheme by recommending that advisory clients invest or maintain at least $62 million in Horizon III, representing more than half of the total funds invested in the Horizon III scheme.”

The individuals named by the SEC are listed below.

It is alleged that the following brokers, previously registered with Southport Capital, also recommended and sold Horizon Private Equity to their clients:

KlaymanToskes is interested in speaking with investors that maintained accounts with Oppenheimer & Co. If you suffered losses in Horizon Private Equity III and had an account with Oppenheimer & Co., we encourage you to immediately contact securities attorney Lawrence L. Klayman at (888) 997-9956 or lklayman@klaymantoskes.com to discuss recovery options.

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. The firm has recovered more than $250 million for investors in FINRA arbitrations and over $350 million in other securities litigation matters for its clients. KlaymanToskes has office locations in California, Florida, New York, and Puerto Rico.


KlaymanToskes, P.A.
Lawrence L. Klayman, Esq.