U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Litigation Release No. 23962 / October 6, 2017
Securities and Exchange Commission v. Marc A. Celello, No. 17-civ-03903-WSD (N.D. Ga. filed Oct. 5, 2017)
SEC Charges Attorney with Participating in Ponzi Scheme
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that it filed fraud charges against an attorney Marc A. Celello based on his alleged participation in a Ponzi scheme.
The SEC’s complaint, filed in federal court in Atlanta on October 5, 2017, alleges that Celello who, along with Canton, Ga.-resident James A. Torchia, was a partner in Credit Nation Capital LLC and served as general counsel for the underlying entities, helped orchestrate a Ponzi scheme involving unregistered promissory notes which falsely promised a 9% return. He allegedly prepared offering memoranda and directed sales and marketing representatives to lie to investors that the promissory notes were secure investments “backed by hard assets dollar for dollar.” The complaint further alleges that Celello knew that Credit Nation Capital was insolvent and directed an employee to fabricate a fraudulent balance sheet that made it appear to be profitable. Celello also allegedly helped transfer investor funds from CN Capital to Torchia for Torchia’s personal use. Between 2009 and November 2015, when the SEC obtained a court order stopping the alleged Ponzi scheme, Credit Nation Capital raised at least $30 million from investors.
The complaint charges Celello with violating, or aiding and abetting Torchia’s and Credit Nation Capital’s violations of, Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder. The complaint seeks permanent injunctions, an accounting, disgorgement plus interest, and civil penalties.
The SEC previously charged Torchia and his companies and obtained a judgment permanently enjoining him from violating Section 17(a) of the Securities Act and Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act and Rule 10b-5 thereunder, with the amounts of disgorgement, interest, and penalties to be determined later by the court.