Leap of faith sours for church members as SEC charges man in alleged $35M Ponzi

Faith is a powerful thing but when people are persuaded to believe in too-good-to-be-true investments, it can also be costly.

The SEC has charged Brent Seaman of Naples, Florida, with fraudulently raising around $35 million from 60 investors, including fellow members of his church, in what he said were “safe” and “guaranteed” investments.

Many of those the SEC says were duped were elderly retirees who believed that their money was being invested in technology companies and trades in commodities and currencies, with promises of returns ranging from 18% to 48%.

Seaman and several entities he manages (Accanito Holdings, Accanito Equity, Accanito Equity II, Accanito Equity III and Accanito Equity IV) are charged with violating the registration provisions of Section 5 of the Securities Act of 1933.

The SEC says that the defendants raised money from the investors between June 2019 and September 2022.

When Seaman lost millions of dollars in currency trades, he then made Ponzi-like payments to cover required monthly distributions. It’s alleged that he used funds obtained from investors to purchase luxury automobiles and take private plane trips.


“As alleged in our complaint, Seaman targeted church members with false claims of success,” said Eric I. Bustillo, director of the SEC’s Miami Regional Office. “This action reflects a deep commitment to pursue those who prey on vulnerable investors.”

A statement from the SEC reads:

“All fraud defendants have consented to a bifurcated settlement, without admitting or denying the Commission’s allegations and subject to court approval, under which they will be enjoined from violating the charged provisions of the federal securities laws and Seaman will be barred from serving as an officer or director of any SEC-reporting company. Seaman also agreed to settle follow-on administrative proceedings pursuant to Section 15(b) of the Exchange Act based on the anticipated entry of a permanent injunction against him. Additionally, the defendants agree that the court will determine whether it is appropriate to order them to pay disgorgement with prejudgment interest and a civil penalty.”

Seaman’s wife, Jana Seaman, and two affiliated entities, Valo Holdings Group and Surge Capital Ventures, that allegedly together received millions in investor proceeds, were named as relief defendants in the SEC’s complaint, filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

Jana Seaman has agreed to pay $757,154 in disgorgement and interest while Valo Holdings Group has agreed to pay $668,240 in disgorgement and interest.

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