Miami man sentenced to five and a half years in prison for running fraudulent cryptocurrency and stock investment scheme
MIAMI – Carl R. Ruderman, 82, former chairman of 1 Global Capital LLC (“1 Global”) pled guilty yesterday to a $250 million securities fraud scheme. Four of Ruderman’s co-conspirators have already pleaded guilty for their role in this fraud, including two lawyers who provided him with false legal cover to skirt federal securities laws.
Ruderman pled guilty to conspiracy to commit securities fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371. In his plea agreement, Ruderman agreed to a sentence of 5 years, the statutory maximum, and to a forfeiture money judgment of over $250 million.
1 Global was a commercial lending business based in Hallandale Beach, Florida, that made the equivalent of “pay day” loans to small businesses at high interest rates, termed merchant cash advance loans (“MCAs”). Ruderman was the chairman of 1 Global.
Ruderman admitted that he and others made false and misleading representations to investors and potential investors as to the profitability of 1 Global’s business in marketing materials and periodic account statements. According to plea documents, investors were falsely told that 1 Global had audited financials by a public accounting firm, that the investor’s money would be spent on the MCAs, and that they could expect double-digit returns on their investments, among other things.
Ruderman admitted that he spent 1 Global’s investor’s money on credit card payments, vacation travel, insurance payments for his art collection and valuable jewelry, drivers, nannies, housekeepers, mortgage payments for his house, tuition, and payments for a luxury car. Ruderman also admitted that he diverted 1 Global investor money to businesses benefitting him and his family, without the investors’ knowledge.
Questions arose during the operation of the business as to whether 1 Global was offering or selling a security and whether the investment offering was required to be registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Ruderman admitted in plea documents that he knew that if 1 Global’s investment offering were determined to be a security, it would undermine the ability of 1 Global to raise funds from retail investors and to continue to operate without substantial additional expenses and reporting requirements. Ruderman also admitted that he directed a lawyer, Jan Atlas, to author two opinion letters in 2016 containing false information that allowed 1 Global to skirt federal securities laws.
Four of Ruderman’s co-conspirators pleaded guilty for their roles in the fraud.
Alan G. Heide, 65, of Lake Worth, Florida, the former 1 Global chief financial officer, pleaded to a single count information, charging him with one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud (case no. 19-cr-60231), and was sentenced to 60 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Roy K. Altman. Judge Altman also ordered Heide to pay over $57 million in restitution to the victims of the scheme.
Andrew Dale Ledbetter, 81, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and securities fraud (case no. 20-cr-60103), and was sentenced by Judge Altman to 60 months in prison. Judge Altman also ordered Ledbetter to pay over $148 million to the victims of the scheme.
Steven Allen Schwartz, 78, of Delray Beach, Florida, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and securities fraud (case no. 20-cr-60003), and was sentenced to 24 months in prison by Judge Altman. Judge Altman also ordered Schwartz to pay over $36 million in restitution to the victims of the scheme.
Jan Douglas Atlas, 78, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and securities fraud (case no. 19-cr-60258), and was sentenced to eight months in prison by Judge Altman. Judge Altman also ordered Atlas to pay over $29 million in restitution to the victims of the scheme.
1 Global filed for bankruptcy on July 27, 2018. As of that time, according to documents from related cases, 1 Global had more than 3,400 investors and had raised more than $250 million during the scheme. The bankruptcy case, In re: 1 Global Capital LLC, et al., No. 18-19121-RBR (S.D. Fla.), remains pending.
The SEC previously filed civil fraud actions related to the 1 Global Fraud, captioned, SEC v. 1 Global Capital LLC and Carl C. Ruderman, Case No. 18-61991-CV-BB (S.D. Fla.); SEC v. Alan G. Heide, Case No. 19-62047-CV-FAM (S.D. Fla.); SEC v. Jan Douglas Atlas, 19-62303-CV-WPD (S.D. Fla.); SEC v. Steven A. Schwartz, Case No. 20-80008-CV-DMM (S.D. Fla.); and SEC v. Andrew Dale Ledbetter, Esq., Case No. 20-61972-CV- (S.D. Fla.).
Information about the related cases can be found here: https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdfl/1Global-Capital.
U.S. Attorney Markenzy Lapointe for the Southern District of Florida, Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey B. Veltri of the FBI, Miami Field Office, Matthew D. Line, Special Agent in Charge Matthew D. Line of the IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), Miami Field Office, and Special Agent in Charge Kyle A. Myles of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Office of Inspector General (FDIC-OIG), Atlanta Region, made the announcement.
U.S. Attorney Lapointe commended the investigative efforts of FBI Miami, IRS-CI Miami, and the FDIC-OIG, Atlanta Region, for their assistance. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Elizabeth Young and Amanda Perwin are prosecuting this case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicole Grosnoff is handling asset forfeiture.
A complaint, information, or indictment is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or at http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov under case number 23-CR-20303-CMA.
Public Affairs Unit
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Florida