February 29, 2024

Former Vice President of NJ Real Estate Investment Firm Faces Civil Enforcement Action for Deceptive $630 Million Scheme

MORRIS COUNTY — Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin declares that the New Jersey Bureau of Securities, operating under the Division of Consumer Affairs, has initiated a civil enforcement action against the ex-vice president of a New Jersey-based real estate investment company, which deceived investors from across the nation with a total investment of $630 million in the firm.

According to a complaint filed in Superior Court in Essex County today, Ivel Turner, a former vice president of the now-defunct National Realty Investment Advisors, LLC, fraudulently sold at least $2.35 million of unregistered securities issued by Oasis Realty Investment Group, LLC, a Delaware-based firm he founded while still working for NRIA, and then misused investors’ funds for his benefit.

Turner sold the fraudulent unregistered Oasis securities to at least two investors – including a New Jersey resident who invested $2.15 million – misrepresenting to them that their money would be used to buy and develop large-scale real estate projects, perform house flips of single-family homes valued over a million dollars, and invest in other real estate-related ventures that would generate profits of up to 13% a year.

In reality, Oasis had no involvement with large-scale real estate projects, and Turner misused at least $500,000 of the investor funds on retail and jewelry purchases at luxury stores, personal investments, school tuition, and other personal benefits.  Turner also transferred a significant portion of investor funds to Integrated Data Solutions, LLC, another entity he owned and controlled.

“The Oasis securities were fictional investments created out of whole cloth to generate money to enrich the defendant and support his lavish lifestyle,” said Attorney General Platkin. “New Jersey has zero tolerance for this kind of egregious deceit and exploitation of investors. The action filed today seeks to hold the defendant accountable for his unlawful conduct and send a strong message of deterrence.”

While previously employed by the Secaucus-based NRIA, Turner allegedly aided in fraudulent conduct that resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in investor losses and led the Bureau to file a Summary Cease and Desist Order against the firm and several of its principals on June 21, 2022. Turner was not among those named in the Summary Order. NRIA filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in June 2022 and is no longer in operation.

According to the allegations contained in the complaint, while employed by NRIA, Turner began laying the groundwork for his fraudulent securities scheme, convincing at least two individuals interested in investing in NRIA securities to invest in Oasis securities instead.

Turner offered and sold the unregistered securities in the form of units of Oasis through an Oasis Private Placement Memorandum, and a series of Oasis websites.  At least one of these websites remains active.

According to the allegations contained in the complaint, the Oasis PPM and websites were replete with fraudulent misrepresentations and omissions regarding Oasis’ ownership, management, size, history, operations, Turner’s background, and how investor funds would be used.  The vast majority of the Oasis PPM’s text was taken word-for-word from the NRIA securities PPM, including specific information such as the date of corporate formation, the amount of funds raised, a history of regulatory and compliance issues, and the profiles and biographical information of “management.”  In most places, “Oasis” simply replaced “NRIA.”

“As alleged in the complaint, the defendant was on his way to recreating the kind of scheme that NRIA used to defraud millions of dollars from thousands of investors,” said Cari Fais, Acting Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs. “But Turner will no longer pose a threat to hard-working investors seeking to build their assets as a result of the Bureau’s action.”

The Complaint alleges that Turner and Oasis violated multiple provisions of the New Jersey Uniform Securities Law, including operating without the required registration, employing a scheme to defraud, making untrue statements of material fact, and omitting material facts in connection with the sale of Oasis securities.

“The conduct outlined in today’s filing serves as a sobering reminder to investors that not every investment offering is what it appears to be,” said Acting Bureau of Securities Chief Amy G. Kopleton. “Thoroughly vetting the offerings and confirming the veracity of the individuals marketing and selling them is paramount to avoiding the very expensive consequences of falling for a fraudulent investment.”

The Bureau is seeking court-ordered monetary penalties, investor restitution, disgorgement, and permanent injunctive relief barring the Defendants from violating the Securities Law or participating in the sale or issuance of securities in the future.

The Bureau’s investigation was handled by Supervising Investigator Irwin Slotnick and Investigator Boris Maltsev. Deputy Attorneys General Michael Eleneski and Claudia Lorenzo of the Securities Fraud Prosecution Section in the Division of Law’s Affirmative Civil Enforcement Practice Group are representing the Bureau in this matter, under the supervision of Assistant Attorney General Brian F. McDonough and Deputy Director Jason W. Rockwell.

The Bureau is charged with protecting investors from investment fraud and regulating the securities industry in New Jersey.

It is critical that investors “Check Before You Invest.” Investors can obtain information, including the registration status and disciplinary history, of any financial professional doing business to or from New Jersey, by contacting the Bureau toll-free within New Jersey at 1-866-I-Invest (1-866-446-8378) or from outside New Jersey at (973) 504-3600, or by visiting the Bureau’s website at www.NJSecurities.gov. Investors can also contact the Bureau for assistance, or to raise issues or complaints about New Jersey-based financial professionals or investments.

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