OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Securities Commission has filed a civil lawsuit alleging a local hotel owner defrauded investors for more than five years.
The Department says the owner of Bricktown Hotel and Convention Center, Tom Seabrooke, has accepted more than $4 million in investment money and used it for personal finances and to pay off earlier investors.
Seabrooke allegedly took up to $400,000 at a time from investors across the country who saw potential in the hotel, and in Seabrooke’s real estate company.
Court documents say, "Tom Seabrooke promoted different properties as lucrative opportunities for investors to purchase ownership interests."
He allegedly told them, "He had specialized knowledge and expertise to make the investments profitable."
From 2007 to 2012 the money poured in, adding up to over $4 million that allegedly went straight to Seabrooke's personal bank accounts.
But this isn't Seabrooke's first run in with law.
In 2004 he was investigated for the same thing. The department gave him a warning saying "The Department cautioned Tom Seabrooke to review and comply."
Legal expert David McKenzie says that warning should have been a red flag to potential investors.
“If you’re going to invest money you can’t just completely trust somebody,” says McKenzie.
Now investigators are left wondering where the four million dollars went.
We knocked on Seabrooke’s door to ask, but no one was home.
McKenzie says, “It probably went to an extravagant lifestyle. I’m assuming that’s typically what happens in these situations.”
McKenzie isn’t convinced the investors will ever see that money again.
“If he is in fact stealing from investors he’s doing so because he doesn’t have any money,” says McKenzie. “While you can get a judgment against somebody it’s just a piece of paper, it’s meaningless if they have no assets to pay it.”
Also, the Bricktown Hotel received the largest small business disaster loan, which is tax payer money, for damage from the May 2013 storms.
They were approved for more than $700,000, more than any business in Moore.