SEC Alleges John Woods (Southport Capital) Ran "Horizon Private Equity" As A Massive Ponzi Scheme

SEC Alleges John Woods (Southport Capital) Ran “Horizon Private Equity” As A Massive Ponzi Scheme

The Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) claims Horizon Private Equity, III, is a “massive Ponzi scheme” and that investors owe $110M principal as of July 2021. John J. Woods. Woods worked at Southport Capital which is a d/b/a for Livingston Group Asset Management Company.  It is estimated that over 400 investors have lost money.

If you or someone you know invested with John Woods, please contact our experienced investment fraud attorneys immediately for a free consultation at 1-800-856-3352. Our national law firm has over 45 years of experience and a 95% win rate. We will provide you with options to recover your losses, but there is a limited time to file claims.


We assist Horizon Private Equity investors in recovering the money that they have invested from brokers and brokerage companies.


Haselkorn & Thibaut’s sole focus is to put money back in the pockets of investors. Horizon and John Woods have been under investigation for several months. We are familiar with the Horizon Private Equity fund and the entities that sold it to investors. Our firm will file in arbitration and court on behalf of investors nationwide to recover financial losses due to the misconduct of investment professionals. We are also investigating claims against John J. Financial firms that may be associated with Horizon Private Equity. Woods and Southport Capital will investigate whether Horizon’s investors have any claims against these companies.


No recovery, no fee. We will not ask you to pay us anything out of your own pocket. We are paid a percentage of the recovery and reimbursed expenses if we recover.

What are the NEXT STEPS

Contact us by calling 1-800-856-3352 or filling out the form. An experience investment fraud attorney will discuss your situation and offer you options. An initial evaluation will take only 15-20 minutes.

Horizon Private Equity – Massive Ponzi Scheme

According to the SEC, the story began in 2008, when Woods was both registered as an investment advisor and a registered representative of a Southport Capital, a financial service firm. Woods was required to report any business activities outside of his job. According to the Complaint, Woods solicited investors for Horizon. The company was “nominally controlled by Woods’ accountant” at that time to protect Woods’ real ownership.

Woods also bought Southport, an SEC-registered investment advisor, that same year. According to the Commission, Woods’ brother became “nominally” responsible for Southport while Woods remained in control of Southport. Woods’ cousin, who was also working at the same financial service firm as Woods, left shortly thereafter to join Southport. Woods resigned from Woods’ financial service firm in 2016 after questions were raised about Woods’ involvement with outside business activities. He then joined Southport full-time. According to the Complaint, Woods asked a business partner to not speak to his compliance personnel during the investigation into his Southport affiliation. He claimed that he had “only months to live” because of his cancer.

Woods, his brother, and his cousin allegedly encouraged clients to invest in Horizon. They emphasized the safety and security of Horizon and promised fixed and guaranteed returns. Investors rarely received any written information about a potential investment.

Instead, they relied on oral conversations and representations made either by Woods, Woods’ relatives, or other Southport advisors. Investors were told that they could not lose their investment, that Horizon was not affiliated to Southport, that Horizon investments were an annuity and that funds from Horizon would be used for government bonds or collateralized mortgage obligations. Investors were also informed that Southport employees would receive no compensation for recommending Horizon investments.

These representations were falsely claimed by the Commission. In reality, Woods operated Horizon as a Ponzi scheme that owes investors more than $110 million but has liquid assets of less than $16million. Woods allegedly used a new investor funds to pay existing investors, a hallmark of a Ponzi scheme. According to the complaint, Horizon invested around $20 million in Horizon assets that would be difficult and time-consuming to liquidate.

The Complaint outlines that in 2018 the Commission’s Division of Examinations examined Southport, alleging that Woods misrepresented and controlled Horizon. Woods submitted written responses that indicated that he had “never” managed Horizon’s operations and that he wasn’t a signatory to Horizon’s checking account. It also stated that Woods was an investor in the fund but not a manager. In 2021, another examination was conducted, which allegedly resulted in Woods providing similar misleading responses.

In a hearing last week, U.S. District Judge Steven Grimburg agreed that the appointment of a receiver was warranted over Horizon but declined to do the same for Southport, reasoning that “I don’t find this burden has been satisfied at this juncture…” An attorney for Southport, while agreeing that a receiver was necessary for Woods and Horizon, cited the recent change in management and leadership at the firm and indicated that the company “will not be around for much longer” if a receiver was appointed over Southport.


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