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‘Classic Ponzi Scam’ in Southern California

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) — Two Southern Californians took $10 million from investors by promising to buy pre-IPO shares in companies such as Airbnb and Uber, the SEC says, but they spent none of the money on that.

The SEC says the men spent less than 1 percent of the money they collected on shares, and none of it on pre-IPO offerings.

It sued Jaswant S. Gill and Javier Rios, who run JSG Capital Investments and two JSG affiliates, calling the operation "a classic investment scam and Ponzi scheme."

They bilked nearly 200 investors with fraudulent promises of "access to alternative investment strategies that were previously only available to the one-percenters," the SEC says in its May 25 federal complaint. It seeks an emergency order because it says the men are still doing it.

The SEC does not know the age of Jaswant Gill, aka Jason Gill, of San Diego, because "he uses multiple birthdates and Social Security numbers," the SEC says. He's the founder and CEO of defendants JSG Capital Investments and JSG Capital, both LLCs.

Rios, 33, of National City, the sole member of defendant JSG Capital Investments, has been working with Gill since at least September 2014. "His professional background is in food service," the SEC says.

Gill took at least $1 million of his suckers' money in cash, and Rios at least $1.7 million, the SEC says. They spent another $500,000 on "excursions," and doled out $4.2 million in Ponzi payments.

Gill claims to have been a managing director at Morgan Stanley with "close ties" to well-known Silicon Valley venture capital firms, whom he advertises as his "partners and mentors" — none of which is true, according to the complaint.

The SEC wants their assets frozen, an accounting, an injunction, and penalties for securities violations.

JSG did not respond to an email requesting comment Thursday.

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