A 22-year-old political activist and his one-time associate, who are accused of selling unregistered securities, pleaded not guilty Monday to felony charges.
Jacob Alexander Wohl and his former business partner, 30-year-old Matthew Johnson, were charged last August with two counts of violating the California Corporations Code by selling unregistered securities that the pair allegedly marketed in 2016.
The defendants were arraigned before Riverside County Superior Court Judge Gail O’Rane, who scheduled an April 21 felony settlement conference for the pair at the Riverside Hall of Justice.
Both defendants are free on their own recognizance.
The investigation that resulted in the charges stemmed from a complaint from an Arizona resident that he had invested $75,000 with Wohl and Johnson, and ultimately lost the money.
During the ensuing investigation, a law enforcement official working undercover posed as a real estate agent with a client who wanted to invest money with Wohl and Johnson and had multiple conversations with the two in July 2016, according to court documents.
Prosecutors allege Johnson offered the undercover investigator and a second detective, posing as the client, a document calling for the second man to invest $100,000 in a one-year note that would give a rate of return of 17%, and the money would be used to purchase and flip homes.
Communications between the investigator, Wohl and Johnson reportedly stopped in late August 2016. The next month, a temporary cease-and-desist order was filed by the Arizona Corporation Commission against Wohl, Johnson and one of Wohl’s financial companies, located in Riverside County.
His father, Riverside attorney David Wohl, told reporters that he and his son were unaware of the allegation before seeing an article in the Daily Beast and claimed prosecutors brought charges against his son without interviewing him and because the statute of limitations for filing charges was about to expire.
In 2018, Jacob Wohl allied himself with Jack Burkman, a lawyer and conservative conspiracy theorist, to allege special counsel Robert Mueller engaged in sexual impropriety. At the time, Mueller was investigating allegations that the Trump campaign had conspired with Russian operatives to influence the 2016 presidential election. The Mueller probe ended without a recommendation of charges.
Wohl and Burkman gave little evidence for the allegations, and the woman described as the accuser told one news outlet that no such assault had occurred.
>> Want to read more stories like this? Get our Free Daily Newsletters Here!Follow us: