United Development Funding IV, a Texas real estate investment trust, said that it has received a Wells Notice from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. This is a sign that the regulator’s staff will likely recommend an enforcement action against the mortgage and development REIT. There are individuals connected to the company and its adviser that also received SEC Wells notices.
The UDF REITs have been in trouble for months now, ever since Harvest Exchange, a hedge fund that had a short position in UDV IV shares, published a report about how it believes the company has been run like a Ponzi scam for years. Harvest Exchange claimed that the REIT utilized new capital to pay current investors their distributions, while providing earlier UDF companies hefty liquidity in order to pay earlier investors. The hedge fund noted the earlier companies do not appear to be able to stand on their own without this liquidity from the latest UDF REITs.
UDF IV not only denied the hedge fund’s claims, but also it filed a complaint with the SEC claiming it had been the victim of a securities trading scam in which an investor was building a short stock position to illegally manipulate its shares.