On July 27, 2018, two affiliated small business lenders — 1 Global Capital (a/k/a 1st Global Capital, and 1 West Capital (collectively, “1GC”) — filed for Chapter 11 protection in Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of Florida. Based in Hallandale Beach, FL, the two affiliated lenders are under the same common ownership and are in the business of purportedly providing small business loans known as “direct merchant cash advances,” to various clientele. In connection with the bankruptcy filing, 1GC’s two primary executives, Messrs. Carl Ruderman and Steven A. Schwartz, relinquished their control over the company and tendered their resignations.
As reported, 1GC had around 1,000 individual unsecured creditors prior to filing for bankruptcy. These creditors had loaned 1GC money with the understanding that these funds would then be invested in direct merchant cash advances. Creditors received monthly statements which demonstrated how their investments had supposedly been allocated, in addition to being provided with an online portal to track their investments.
In total, 1GC has reported more than $283 million in unsecured lender claims. Of the 20 largest creditors, all of them are individuals or retirement accounts. Prior to the bankruptcy filing, the SEC had opened an investigation into whether 1GC was engaging in “[p]ossible securities laws violations, including the alleged offer and sale of unregistered securities by unregistered brokers, and by the alleged commission of fraud in connection with the offer, purchase and sale of securities.” At this stage, both the SEC and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida, which recently commenced a parallel criminal investigation, are investigating allegations of possible wrongdoing or malfeasance at 1GC.