Farmer Says He Was Rolled for $750,000

HOUSTON (CN) – An 83-year-old farmer and veteran claims in court that Brazen Oil Signature Strategies lived down to its name by defrauding him of $750,000.
     Leonard Ochs describes himself as “a man of simple means” who grew up on a farm in Illinois, where he has lived his whole life. He sued Brazen Oil and its registered agent John A. Zotos, both of Houston, and Gordon “Grant” Curtis, of Marblehead, Mass., on Veteran’s Day in Harris County Court.
     After losing money investing in gold, Ochs says, Curtis approached one of Ochs’s financial advisers and offered to help him recover the money he’d lost on gold. “While pitching Ochs with a plan to mitigate those losses, he introduced Ochs to Zotos and BOSS [Brazen Oil Signature Strategies],” the farmer says in the complaint.
     Curtis claimed to be in “business development” for BOSS, and had “an incredible opportunity for Ochs,” the Falcon Project, part ownership of oil wells in Wyoming and Texas, Ochs says.
     And there went $750,000. Ochs says he received little or no more information about the Falcon Project, or his money, “and the information he did receive was suspect.”
     He became even more suspicious when his inquiries were met not only with excuses, but with requests for more money for a different business: “Potbiotics.”
     “Potbiotics was supposedly a biotech company intended on merging robotic with cannabis,” Ochs says. He had no interest in it, “due to its very nature,” and also because he was becoming alarmed at BOSS and Curtis.
     “Perhaps the most disturbing revelation came when Ochs learned Curtis was a convicted felon who had spent time in prison for committing securities fraud,” Ochs says in the complaint. He says the SEC had enjoined Curtis from being involved in marketing or selling private securities.
     Ochs says he finally understood that he would get “absolutely nothing” for his $750,000. “It was a scam through and through.”
     He wants his money back and punitive damages for fraud, conspiracy, aiding and abetting, fraudulent inducement, negligent misrepresentation, and securities violations.
     He is represented by Robert Bogdanowicz III, with Deans & Lyons, of Dallas.
     Purported oil and gas investments, particularly in Texas and Wyoming, are one of the most common scams in the country, according to the Courthouse News database. Lawsuits about them are filed virtually every day, and have been for years.

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