For immediate release: February 4, 2021
Contact: Maura Browning, Communications Director
Securities Division Seeks Repayment in Alleged $1.8 Billion Multi-State Scheme Targeting 255 Missourians
Jefferson City, Mo. — Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft’s Securities Division ordered David Gentile, Jeffry Schneider, Jeffrey Lash and their companies to show cause why restitution of more than $24 million should not be paid after allegedly defrauding 255 Missouri investors and tens of thousands more across the U.S.
The division alleges that between 2013 and 2018, Gentile, Schneider and Lash raised more than $1.8 billion by luring individuals to invest with misleading promises of reliable returns. The three men and their companies — GPB Capital Holdings LLC, Ascendant Capital LLC and Ascendant Alternative Strategies LLC — relied on a Ponzi-style scheme for financing, using new investors’ capital to pay returns to prior investors.
The massive fraud scheme originated in New York and has affected tens of thousands across the U.S., including 255 Missourians, who invested $37 million. Missouri is one of seven states filing corresponding actions today alleging fraudulent conduct from Gentile, Schneider and Lash and their companies.
New Jersey, New York, Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, and South Carolina joined Missouri in the simultaneous filings, which coincide with court action taken by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York arrested Lash and Schneider, while Gentile is expected to surrender this morning on related charges.
“Our office will continue to work with our partners in state and federal law enforcement and regulatory agencies to combat investment fraud,” Ashcroft said. “We aim to bring to justice anyone whose unlawful actions harm the integrity of the financial markets or illegally cause investor losses.”
The Securities Division is seeking a final order for more than $24 million in restitution with interest, $18 million in civil penalties, and disgorgement and investigation costs.
Ashcroft urges all investors to know the risks. If you have any questions about an investment opportunity or wish to check the background and registration status of a financial adviser, please call the toll-free investor protection hotline at 800-721-7996, or go online to www.missouriprotectsinvestors.com to file a complaint.
Visit www.sos.mo.gov to learn more about the Office of the Missouri Secretary of State.