March 4, 2010 – The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) filed a complaint against Gaston Cantens and Teresita Cantens for allegedly running their real estate firm, Royal West Properties, Inc., as a Ponzi scheme. According to the complaint, the Cantens’ raised over $135 million from over 400 investors, who were primarily Cuban-Americans from the South Florida area.
The SEC claims that the Cantens’ lured investors by offering promissory with annual returns ranging from 9 to 16 percent. Their promises were backed by the purported success of Royal West’s real estate business and claims that the Cantens’ were personally worth $65 million, even signing personal guarantees to some investors. The Cantens have operated Royal West Properties since 1993 and the SEC claims that they started using it as an investment scam in 2002.
The complaint further alleges that Royal West was not making sufficient income to repay the principal and interest amounts to investors. The SEC claims that the Cantens used the majority of client funds to repay earlier investors and paid themselves approximately $20 million in salaries. They also apparently invested money in unrelated business adventures and paid their children and grandchildren.
The SEC filed the complaint in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida on Wednesday. The SEC is seeking permanent injunctions, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains with prejudgment interest, and civil penalties.
If you invested with Royal West Properties, Inc. and/or Gaston and Teresita Cantens, or are the victim of some other type of investment fraud, the Law Offices of the attorney, and its affiliates, is prepared to review your situation and potential claim(s) without charge, and will consider representing you on a contingent fee basis, which means that you will not have to pay out of pocket for your legal representation. The firm will take a fee only if we are successful in recovering your assets.
, or .