Federal regulators have charged the owner of the Chattanooga Lookouts baseball team with “running a massive Ponzi scheme for over a decade” that has defrauded more than 400 investors already and continues to illegally raise more money to try to pay off previous investors.

In a 40-page complaint filed in federal court Friday, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charged John J. Woods and his Southport Capital investment firm with six counts of securities fraud. The complaint says Woods’ Ponzi scheme, which goes by the name Horizon Private Equity, collected over $110 million from investors with promises of 6-7% rates of return but the investments “are worth far too little for there to be any realistic prospect that the Ponzi scheme will be able to pay back existing investors their principal, let alone the promised returns.”

Woods, a 56-year-old East Ridge native, operates Southport Capital from…

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