SUNNYVALE — A busy South Bay developer and his company, Silicon Sage Builders, face a complaint from the Securities and Exchange Commission in connection with a $119 million offering that the SEC alleges defrauded hundreds of investors, the regulatory agency disclosed on Monday.

The SEC filed a complaint and emergency action against Silicon Sage Builders and its principal executive, Sanjeev Acharya, the regulators said.

Sunnyvale-based Silicon Sage Builders and Acharya raised money from approximately 250 retail investors, most of whom were members of the South Asian community in Northern California, the SEC claimed in its complaint, which was filed in U.S. District Court.

The development firm and its top executive, the SEC claims, “falsely” described the real estate business of Silicon Sage Builders as “profitable” and promised investors “exorbitant returns.”

In fact, as the complaint alleges, from 2016 to 2019, nearly every one of the development projects of Silicon Sage Builders suffered signfiicant cost overruns.

The projects, according to the SEC, did not generate enough money to pay the investors the returns and profits they were promised.

Acharya, as alleged in the complaint, misled investors into believing the payments they received were derived from Silicon Sage Builders’ profits.

In reality, the SEC claims, Silicon Sage Builders and Acharya had used new investor funds to pay earlier investors.

The SEC complaint also alleges that Acharya misled investors as to the amount of money the company was attempting to raise. The SEC claims that Acharya falsely told investors they could redeem their investments despite there being insufficient funds to meet redemption requests.

“As we allege in our complaint, wrongdoers sometimes prey on the trust of members of their communities to raise funds for their fraudulent schemes,” said Alka Patel, Associate Regional Director of the SEC’s Los Angeles Regional Office. “Affinity frauds are particularly harmful to retail investors.”

Silicon Sage’s website lists at least six residential projects in the Bay Area, several in the South Bay, that it is developing or has completed.

“The SEC seeks preliminary and permanent injunctions, the appointment of a receiver over Silicon Sage Builders, asset freezes, disgorgement with prejudgment interest, and financial penalties against the defendants, as well as an order prohibiting the destruction of documents and accounting,” the regulators stated.


By Arlene Huff

Arlene Huff is the founding member of Golden State Online. Before that She was a general assignment reporter. A native Californian, she graduated from the University of California with a degree in medical anthropology and global health. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

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