LOS ANGELES – An Antelope Valley woman was arrested today on a 39-count federal grand jury indictment alleging she obtained more than $13.5 million from more than 1,000 investors for her for-women beverage company, the lion’s share of which she spent at casinos, on luxury items and cars, and renting a house.
Lupe Louise Rose, 54, of Palmdale, surrendered to federal authorities this morning. She is charged with 38 counts of securities fraud and one count of making false statements to federal investigators.
Rose pleaded not guilty at her arraignment this afternoon at United States District Court in downtown Los Angeles and a March 19 trial was scheduled. A federal magistrate judge today ordered Rose freed on $20,000 bond.
According to the indictment returned on January 18 and unsealed today, Rose in 2009 founded She Beverage Co. Inc., a Lancaster-based beverage manufacturer. Rose was the company’s president, CEO, and chairman of its board of directors. Rose promoted She Beverage as a woman-owned beverage manufacturer that marketed – primarily to female consumers – and sold beer, wine, bottled water, and other products purported designed specifically to cater to women’s needs.
From 2017 to December 2020, Rose raised investments in She Beverage amounting to more than $13.5 million from more than 1,000 investors nationwide. Specifically, she caused the company to offer and sell its shares through an offering memorandum, offering shares in the company at a price of $2.50 per share. Rose also hosted in-person meetings for current and prospective investors, some of which were livestreamed to out-of-town investors.
Even though Rose marketed She Beverage as a successful company, in fact, she allegedly used the vast majority of the $13.5 million she raised from investors personally to enrich herself, her family and friends. She also used victim investor money to “purchase” shell companies to give the false appearance that She Beverage was expanding, according to the indictment.
Contrary to Rose’s written promises to spend 30% of money raised from investors on inventory, she allegedly spent only 2.5% of investors’ money on inventory from 2015 to 2021.
From 2016 to 2021, Rose caused $6 million of victim investor funds raised in the company offerings to be used for the benefit of herself and her friends, the indictment alleges. Rose allegedly failed to inform investors that she spent more than $1 million of company funds at casinos, and she also used company money to purchase cars and trucks for family and friends. She allegedly also used company money to pay for a lease on a house she rented and used company money to purchase luxury clothing from retailers such as Gucci and Louis Vuitton.
Rose allegedly lied to investors by stating in 2018 that her company had “generated approximately $4-5 million dollars in revenue” when, in fact, that year She Beverage had sold less than $263,000 in merchandise.
She allegedly also made false statements to investors that She Beverage sold United States Food and Drug Administration-approved bottled water made with a proprietary formula that cured cancer. Rose made other alleged false claims about her prior business experience, including that she had developed McDonald’s Bagel Sandwich and the creation of Versace’s “Tribute” clothing line.
Other false statements included that there were nine-figure offers from other companies to purchase She Beverage and about Rose’s educational background, including that she received “professional certificates in the field of Medicine, Journalism,
Broadcasting, Education and Company Branding,” according to the indictment. Rose allegedly made false statements to investors and to investigators with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
An indictment is merely an allegation. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
If convicted of all charges, Rose would face a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison for each securities fraud count and up to five years in federal prison for the false statements count.
In September 2021, the SEC sued Rose for allegedly fraudulently raising millions of dollars from She Beverage investors throughout the United States. On January 16, United States District Judge Christina A. Snyder imposed a judgment finding Rose, She Beverage Co. Inc., and two others jointly and severally liable for disgorgement of $12,021,500, representing net profits from the fraud, as well as $738,774 in pre-judgment interest.
The FBI and IRS Criminal Investigation are investigating this matter.
Assistant United States Attorney Jeff P. Mitchell of the Major Frauds Section is prosecuting this case.