Three California-based sales agents were sued by the SEC for illegally selling Woodbridge Group as part of that firm's $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme.

David H. Goldman, Brook Church-Koegel and Nicole J. Walker are the latest participants to be charged in the fraud operated by Robert H. Shapiro from 2012 to 2017.

Shapiro, 61, of Sherman Oaks, Calif., pleaded guilty to conspiracy and tax evasion and was sentenced to 25 years in prison in October in relation to the scheme.

According to the SEC's complaint, David H. Goldman of Chatsworth, Calif., and Brook Church-Koegel and Nicole J. Walker, both of Marina Del Rey, Calif., sold and assisted others in selling about $444 million in Woodbridge securities in unregistered transactions to thousands of predominantly elderly investors.

The complaint alleged that the trio were among Woodbridge's largest revenue-producing internal sales agents, and Church-Koegel and Goldman eventually became “team leaders,” responsible for coordinating and assisting the wide-ranging sales efforts of many internal sales agents who sold Woodbridge securities.

Church-Koegel, Goldman, and Walker also coordinated and assisted external sales agents in their efforts to sell Woodbridge’s securities, including regularly speaking with them over the telephone, the complaint said. They also pitched Woodbridge’s securities to the general public via email, telephone and at in-person meetings. Further, they provided investors with Woodbridge’s sales and marketing materials, touting Woodbridge’s securities as “safer” and “conservative,” the complaint said.

Woodbridge and Shapiro, its then owner and president, operated Woodbridge as a Ponzi scheme that raised at least $1.22 billion from more than 8,400 investors, many of whom were elderly, nationwide through fraudulent unregistered securities offerings.

Shapiro had promised returns as high as 10% from investments in loans to property developers. Instead, he used money from new investors to repay earlier ones and used $36 million to buy luxury homes, wines, paintings and custom-designed jewelry for his wife.

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