The Securities and Exchange Commission has obtained a final judgment and more than $30 million in monetary relief in its action against Navellier & Associates, Inc., a Nevada-based investment advisory firm, and its founder and chief investment officer, Louis Navellier, of Florida. The Commission charged the defendants in federal district court in Massachusetts in August 2017 alleging that they breached their fiduciary duties and defrauded their advisory clients and prospective clients through the use of marketing materials that included false and misleading statements regarding the past performance of the firm’s Vireo AlphaSector investment strategies.
The court previously granted partial summary judgment in favor of the SEC on February 13, 2020, holding that Navellier & Associates and Mr. Navellier violated the antifraud provisions of Sections 206(1) and 206(2) of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. The court found that the defendants knew there were misleading statements in their marketing materials and that there had been inadequate due diligence, yet they failed to inform their clients. Instead, as the court determined, the defendants continued to sell the Vireo AlphaSector investment strategies despite their knowledge that representations about the strategies were false and misleading.
In addition to enjoining the defendants from violating Sections 206(1) and 206(2) of the Advisers Act, the final judgment entered on June 2, 2020 also orders defendants jointly and severally to pay disgorgement of $28,964,571, including $6,513,619 in prejudgment interest, as well as civil penalties against Navellier & Associates in the amount of $2,000,000 and against Mr. Navellier in the amount of $500,000.
The SEC’s litigation was handled by Rory Alex, William Donahue, Jennifer Cardello, and Marc Jones of the Boston Regional Office and Robert Baker of the Asset Management Unit.a