Former Head of Real Estate Investment Firm Sentenced to 8 Years in Prison for the Sale of Unregistered Securities
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Akbar Bhamani, 61, of Carmichael, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Troy L. Nunley to eight years in prison for two counts of selling unregistered securities, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced. Bhamani was sentenced to 49 months on count one and 48 months on count two, to be served consecutively.
According to court documents, Bhamani was the founder and chief executive officer of Heaven Investments Holding Corporation (HIHC), a Sacramento company that was family-owned and operated. From February 2007 through August 2008, Bhamani and his employees solicited investors to participate in its investment programs, including the Tenants in Common (TIC) program. The TIC program was to use investor money to develop four properties, including a hotel in Oakland. HIHC sold fractionalized ownership interests to investors in each of the properties. These fractionalized interests qualified as securities, which defendant never registered with the SEC. Investors in HIHC lost between $2.5 million and $7 million.
During the sentencing hearing, a number of letters from investors who collectively lost millions of dollars were read describing the devastating impact of their losses, including in some cases, the loss of retirement money and life savings. In sentencing Bhamani, Judge Nunley commented that the defendant’s sole focus was on marketing and revenue, noting that he continued to misrepresent the profitability of the company to investors just months before filing for bankruptcy on behalf of the company in August 2008. Judge Nunley ordered the defendant to pay restitution, the amount of which will be determined at a later proceeding.
This case was the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Michele Beckwith prosecuted the case. The remaining defendants have pleaded guilty and await sentencing.