SEC Accuses BNZ One Capital Principals of Operating $13.5 Million Ponzi-Like Scheme

Last Updated: November 1, 2021

INVESTORS: The SEC has charged Newport Beach-based company BNZ One Capital and it’s principal owners, Brett Barber and Louis Zimmerle, with fraudulently raising $13.5 million from over 100 investors.

Have you invested with BNZ One Capital, or it’s principals Brett Barber and Louis Zimmerle? Call the Sonn Law Group anytime at 844-689-5754 or submit the short form below to speak with an investment loss attorney from our firm about your options for financial recovery.

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BNZ One Capital: Summary of Allegations Made in the DOJ Complaint

Click here to read the full text of the SEC complaint against BNZ One Capital and it’s principal owners, Brett Barber and Louis Zimmerle.

4. This action involves a securities offering fraud by an issuer and its coowners and co-managing members, who raised at least $13.5 million from about 105 investors since June 2019.

5. Defendants Barber and Louis Zimmerle (“Zimmerle”) told investors that Defendant BNZ (collectively with Barber, Zimmerle and BNZ, “Defendants”) was in the business of making investments in real estate and alternative investments. Barber and Zimmerle promised investors that BNZ would repay investors their principal with a return of generally 10% per year, representing that BNZ’s investments would generate these returns. Barber additionally told some BNZ investors that their investments were safe and the returns guaranteed.

6. Since BNZ’s inception, however, BNZ has not been profitable because its investments—when Barber and Zimmerle actually made investments have not generated enough profit to return investor principal and pay the promised returns. In fact, from June 2019 through February 2020, Defendants raised $6.9 million from investors, but invested only $2.7 million and generated less than $5,000 in profits from those investments.

7. Instead of investing funds to generate returns, Defendants used investor funds to pay investors returns in a Ponzi-like scheme. Barber and Zimmerle also paid themselves handsomely from investor funds, including transferring hundreds of thousands of dollars to Barber’s company, Relief Defendant Guaranteed Income Solutions, Inc. (“GIS”).

8. Since at least March 2020, Defendants knew or were reckless in not knowing that BNZ’s investments and the profits from those investments were insufficient to pay investors their returns. Nevertheless, after March 2020, they raised an additional $6.6 million, misleading investors about BNZ’s profitability, and continuing to make Ponzi-like payments to investors and lavish payments to themselves.

All told, BNZ invested only $6.4 million of the $13.5 million in investor funds in real estate and alternative investments, generated barely $300,000 in profits, and made at least $1.7 million in Ponzi-like payments to investors. And despite BNZ’s miniscule profits, BNZ transferred more than $1.6 million to GIS and more than $700,000 to Zimmerle, while also paying certain of Barber’s and Zimmerle’s personal expenses, including for vehicles, meals, and travel.

10. Through their conduct, and as further detailed below, Defendants violated the antifraud provisions of Section 17(a) of the Securities Act and Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act and Rule 10b-5 thereunder, as well as the registration 9. provisions of Sections 5(a) and 5(c) of the Securities Act. Barber and Zimmerle also violated the broker-dealer registration provisions of Section 15(a) of the Exchange Act.

11. In addition to their primary liability for their violations of Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act and Rule 10b-5 thereunder, Barber and Zimmerle are secondarily liable for BNZ’s fraud as control persons pursuant to Section 20(a) of the Exchange Act.

12. Relief Defendant GIS was unjustly enriched by the receipt of BNZ investor funds to which it had no legitimate claim.

13. The SEC seeks findings that Defendants committed these violations; permanent injunctions against each Defendant’s future violations of the securities laws; permanent injunctions precluding Barber and Zimmerle from participating in an unregistered securities offering; disgorgement with prejudgment interest from Defendants and the Relief Defendant, and civil monetary penalties against Defendants.