Litigation Release No. 25049 / March 12, 2021
Securities and Exchange Commission v. Shamoon Omer Rafiq, a/k/a Shamoon Rafiq, Omer Rafiq, and Omar Rafiq, No. 21-civ-2168 (S.D.N.Y.) filed March 12, 2021
On March 12, 2021, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged Shamoon Omer Rafiq, a Dutch citizen residing in Singapore, with defrauding investors by offering to sell them approximately $9 million in fictitious securities.
According to the SEC’s complaint, since July 2020, Rafiq sought to bilk several investors out of millions of dollars by offering to sell them securities purporting to represent Rafiq’s ownership in a special purpose vehicle investment fund (the SPV Fund) that, Rafiq claimed, held pre-IPO shares of a well-known company. The complaint alleges that, as part of his fraudulent sales pitch, Rafiq falsely claimed that the SPV Fund was controlled by a well-known European investment firm run by a prominent family, and that Rafiq was a close associate of the firm and its members. As the complaint further alleges, however, the SPV Fund did not exist, and Rafiq had no connection to, or association with the investment firm or its family owners.
The complaint further alleges that, using these false representations and other deceptive devices, Rafiq convinced one investor to deposit into escrow approximately $9 million toward the purchase of Rafiq’s purported interests in the SPV Fund. As alleged, however, before that transaction was completed, the investor discovered Rafiq’s fraud and retrieved the escrowed funds.
The SEC’s complaint, filed in the Southern District of New York, charges Rafiq with violating the antifraud provisions of Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933. On March 12, 2021, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York announced criminal charges against Rafiq based on the same conduct.
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy has issued investor alerts on the red flags of investment fraud. There are various ways to report a potential fraud set out on the Office’s website.
The SEC’s investigation, which is ongoing, is being conducted by Liora Sukhatme, Jack Kaufman, and Gerald Gross of the New York Regional Office and the litigation will be handled by Ms. Sukhatme and Mr. Kaufman. The case is being supervised by Sanjay Wadhwa. The SEC appreciates the assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and the Department of Homeland Security.
On May 17, 2004, Rafiq was convicted in the Eastern District of New York of a wire fraud scheme in which he offered to sell investors pre-IPO shares of Google, Inc. stock (which he likewise did not own), defrauding investors of approximately $500,000. See United States v. Shamoon Omer Rafiq, 1:04-cr-488 (E.D.N.Y.)