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SEC freezes assets of L.A. man accused of running boiler-room-style investment operation

The agency says Clement Ejedawe and two of his companies, Innova Energy and Innova Leasing and Management, allegedly cheated at least 30 people out of $1.3 million.

March 25, 2009|Ronald D. White

The Securities and Exchange Commission said Tuesday that it had obtained a court order freezing the assets of a Los Angeles man accused of running a boiler-room-style investment operation that allegedly cheated at least 30 people out of $1.3 million.

The SEC said the complaint, filed in federal court in Los Angeles on Monday, was against Clement Ejedawe and two of his companies, Innova Energy and Innova Leasing & Management.

The SEC said Ejedawe, who also used the alias Clement Chad, ran an operation that had been cold-calling potential investors since December 2006. The pitch, the SEC said, promised monthly payments of $4,000 to $5,000 for every $50,000 invested in the companies' oil and gas leases and drilling equipment. But the SEC said few of the investors received any money.

Lorraine B. Echavarria, assistant regional director of the SEC's Los Angeles office, said that the oil and gas projects never existed.

"This is the kind of case we will prosecute aggressively," Echavarria said, adding that the SEC hoped to recoup some of the money and obtain a permanent injunction against Ejedawe.

In May 2008, the California Department of Corporations issued a cease-and-desist order against Innova Energy, Innova Leasing & Management and "Clement Chad a.k.a. Clem Chad, Clement L. Ejedawe," saying that he had been selling securities without permits.

Attempts to reach Ejedawe were unsuccessful. At the Wilshire Boulevard offices of Innova Drilling and Leasing, the name on the door had been changed to SE Engineering and those inside claimed to have never heard of the company, Ejedawe or Chad.

But a building manager said that the people claiming to be SE Engineering had only recently stopped calling themselves Innova Leasing. Several magazines in the office lobby were also addressed to Clement Chad and Innova Leasing.

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ron.white@latimes.com

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