The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed charges on April 2, 2020 against Texas resident and former pastor Larry Donnell Leonard, II, his wife Shuwana Leonard, and two related entities for defrauding hundreds of retail investors.
The SEC’s complaint alleges that the Leonards and two companies they control, Teshuater, LLC and Teshua Business Group, LLC, targeted investors in the African-American community with three separate fraudulent offerings, raising nearly $500,000 from over 500 investors across the United States. According to the complaint, the Leonards first sold bogus stock certificates in Teshuater, a company that bottled and sold alkaline water. Larry Leonard then allegedly tried to raise $20 million by selling a valueless cryptocurrency called TeshuaCoin, which he falsely claimed was backed by Teshuater’s water products. Finally, the complaint alleges that Larry Leonard raised funds for a non-existent bitcoin mining investment, promising exorbitant returns, and then used the funds to make speculative options trades. The complaint was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas The complaint charges the Leonards and Teshuater with, among other things, violating the registration provisions of Sections 5 of the Securities Act. The complaint seeks injunctive relief and disgorgement of allegedly ill-gotten gains.