A number of alleged victims around San Diego are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Cooper touted his two-year Mormon mission in New England and boasted that he is an Eagle Scout on a Total Wealth Management website.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sued Cooper and his company in February 2015, alleging he was engaging in ongoing fraud involving unregistered sales of securities.
The SEC also alleged that Cooper tried to use client funds to pay fines from an earlier agency administrative action against the company and was taking other "substantial funds" in the guise of administrative fees.
A court-appointed receiver also found that Cooper had received kickbacks of $775,000 from entities in which Total Wealth had invested funds, then spent $530,000 of investor funds to pay legal fees to fight the SEC lawsuit, according to court documents.
The Wealth Management receiver, Kristen A. Janulewicz, an accountant in Irvine, Calif., said in her initial report to a federal judge that Cooper had revenue-sharing arrangements and collected management and other fees from companies in which he had placed investor monies. But these firms were insolvent, appeared to be losing money or "had unusual affiliations" with Cooper, she added.
Cooper solicited clients for Total Wealth on a weekly radio show called "Minding Your Own Business," where he discussed investments, including opportunities in his own companies.
He told listeners that Total Wealth's investments were safe even in an economic downturn and that returns had been up to 18 percent, according to the SEC. firstname.lastname@example.org