(CN) - A state appellate court reversed and remanded a summary judgment in favor of a company that contributed $300,000 to an investment scheme whose operators and procedures are still largely unknown.
Judge Matthew Stevenson of Florida's Fourth District said the district court's decision was based solely on evidence offered in the plaintiff's sworn motion, which revealed Sunrise View Inc. was approached about an investment deal that didn't end the way it was supposed to.
Appellants Joseph Venezia and Vincent Gerardi told Sunrise their investment would generate $3 million over a 30-day period. Part of the deal required Sunrise to pay back a portion of the proceeds over time, which included fees and interest.
"Sunrise wired $300,000 to a bank account but received neither a return on its investment nor the return of its investment," said Stevenson for a three-judge panel. "Appellants subsequently advised Sunrise that the money was used in an investment scheme whereby the $300,000 was wired to a third-party foreign-currency money trader. The profits generated by the trade of foreign currency were to have been provided to Sunrise, but the appellants have refused to 'fully disclose how the $300,000 was used and exactly what parties were involved in the investment.'"
Venezia and Gerardi filed an appeal following Sunrise's award of summary judgment, which was based on the alleged sale of an unregistered security in violation of Florida's Securities and Investor Protection Act.
The Court of Appeal reversed the decision, questioning the validity of the investment as it relates to the definition of a "security."
"It is apparent that genuine issues of material fact remain, including whether a 'sale' may have taken place within the meaning of section 517.021(20)," Stevens said. "The limited evidence offered also failed to establish, as a matter of law, that the subject transaction involved a 'security' as that term is defined in chapter 517."