Jacob Wohl — a right-wing activist and internet troll known for his support of Donald Trump and for failed attempts to spread false, malicious accusations about prominent political figures — was charged with the unlawful sale of securities in a complaint filed Aug. 19 in Riverside, California.
Wohl and his former business partner Matthew Johnson were accused of offering “unqualified securities in violation of California Corporations Code 25110” for sale as part of their proprietary trading and asset management firm, Montgomery Assets. At the time charges were filed, an arrest warrant for both men was also issued. The warrant for Wohl was recalled on Wednesday after he appeared in court and he was released on his own recognizance, a spokesperson for the Riverside District Attorney’s office told TheWrap.
An arraignment has been scheduled for Oct. 24 in Riverside.
According to court documents obtained by TheWrap, the Riverside D.A.’s office initiated the investigation in 2016 following a complaint from an Arizona resident who said he had invested a total of $75,000 with Wohl and Johnson’s asset firm — and subsequently lost it all. The Arizona resident later died by suicide, the documents said.
As part of the investigation, a senior investigator for the D.A.’s office working undercover as a real estate agent contacted Wohl and Johnson about a fictitious potential client, according to the court documents. Alongside an undercover police officer posing as the client, the investigator found that Wohl and Johnson were planning on putting the client’s investment into an asset fund “for the purchase and flipping of residential property” in exchange for a 17 percent return, “even though the [private placement memorandum] states they can invest the money in anything,” the document states.
The investigator concluded that the move was an offer to sell a security, but a securities registration or exemption was never filed with California’s Department of Business Oversight, the North American Securities Administrators Association, or the Securities and Exchange Commission.
In 2017, Wohl was accused of securities fraud by the Arizona Corporation Commission and eventually ordered to pay more than $32,000 in restitution. That same year, he was permanently barred by the National Futures Association.
He gained notoriety for his involvement in failed campaigns to spread false sexual-assault accusations against figures like Robert Mueller and Pete Buttigieg, as well as for writing numerous tweets claiming to hear “liberals” at “hipster coffee shops” praising Trump.
Wohl did not immediately respond to a request for comment from TheWrap. Attempts to contact Johnson were unsuccessful.
The Daily Beast first reported the charges against Wohl and Johnson.