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Century City man faces potential years of prison due to Ponzi scheme

A Century City man faces the possibility of decades in federal prison when he is sentenced today for running a $3 million Ponzi scheme primarily targeting Iranian Jews living in the Southland.

Shervin Neman, whose given name is Shervin Davatgarzadeh, was found guilty at trial in May of two counts of wire fraud and one count of mail fraud.

The 33-year-old Neman claimed to be a successful investor who made significant profits, but actually he ran a Ponzi scheme from 2010 through 2013 by soliciting funds from investors with false claims that their money would be used to purchase foreclosed real estate and stocks.

Instead of using investor funds to make the promised investments, Neman spent most of his clients’ money on personal expenditures and to repay other victims.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed a civil complaint against Neman and his company, Century City-based Neman Financial Inc., two years ago in Los Angeles federal court.

SEC documents show that Neman was operating a multimillion-dollar Ponzi scheme that was primarily targeting members of the Persian-Jewish community in the Los Angeles area. As a result, a federal judge issued orders prohibiting Neman from committing securities fraud.

The month after the SEC sued Neman, he solicited $2 million from another victim with false promises that he could obtain pre-IPO shares in Facebook. Neman used the funds obtained from the new victim to pay, among other things, most of his earlier victims and the law firm representing him in the SEC action.

Neman then had victims who had been “paid back” write emails saying that he did not owe them money and then tried to use those emails as part of his defense in the SEC case, according to prosecutors.

In June 2012, Neman sent the $2 million victim a check for $2,235,800, supposedly his investment into Facebook plus interest, but it bounced.

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