SEC Accuses Encino Man of Defrauding Investors

Times Staff Writer

An Encino man raised at least $4.5 million by promising investors monthly returns of up to 200%, then diverted the money to personal uses, including an attempt to purchase a male strip club, securities regulators are alleging.

In a federal lawsuit, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged Nicholas Richmond, 34, and his Premier Marketing and Investments Inc. with defrauding investors through promises of "high-yield" programs involving promissory notes, bridge loans and trading in precious metals.

Richmond, also known as Nicholas Roblee, allegedly raised funds from dozens of investors in at least eight states since November 2000, said Lisa A. Gok, an assistant regional director for the SEC in Los Angeles.

Besides the abortive strip club deal, Richmond also spent the money on limousines, guards, a down payment on a $1.5-million house in Encino and an X-rated film business with a Web site, the SEC alleges.

The suit, filed late Tuesday, seeks to force Richmond to repay the investors and impose fines on him. U.S. District Judge Gary Klausner in Los Angeles issued a temporary restraining order Wednesday freezing Richmond's assets and barring him from destroying documents, the SEC said.

Neither Richmond nor his attorney could be reached for comment.

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