The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that it has charged the owner of a Manhattan-based alternative investment firm with misappropriating close to $6 million in investor funds earmarked to finance the construction of an international airport in Belize.
The SEC’s complaint alleges that between 2014 and 2017, Brent Borland sold more than $21 million of promissory notes to dozens of investors, promising that the funds would be used as bridge financing for development of an international airport in Placencia, Belize, and that the investments would be protected by pledges of real estate as collateral. Borland marketed and sold the notes through two companies, Borland Capital Group LLC, which purports to be active in “alternative investment,” and Belize Infrastructure Fund I, LLC, which purports to be in the business of construction finance.
The complaint alleges that Borland used millions of dollars of investor funds for personal expenses and unrelated business expenses, including mortgage and property tax payments on his family’s Florida mansion, multiple luxury automobiles, private school tuition for his children, $36,000 for his family’s beach club membership, and almost $2.7 million to pay off credit cards. Borland also allegedly deceived investors by pledging the same collateral to multiple investors.
Investors should be able to count on the fact that their invested funds are used as promised,” said Robert J. Burson, Associate Regional Director of the SEC’s Chicago Regional Office. “We obtained an asset freeze and immediate injunctive relief in this case to protect victims from alleged false promises.
The SEC’s complaint charges Borland, Borland Capital Group and Belize Infrastructure Fund with violating the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws. The SEC seeks asset freezes, an accounting of investor assets, disgorgement, and civil penalties. The complaint also names as relief defendants Borland’s wife, Alana LaTorra Borland, and a corporation controlled by Borland and his wife, Canyon Acquisitions, LLC. The SEC seeks to recover investor proceeds that Borland transferred to the relief defendants.
In a parallel action, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York announced criminal charges against Borland who was arrested earlier in the day.
The SEC’s investigation, which is continuing, was conducted by Andrew O’Brien and Donald Ryba and supervised by C.J. Kerstetter. The SEC’s litigation will be led by Benjamin Hanauer and Timothy Leiman.