Conservative operative Jacob Wohl is wanted on a felony arrest warrant in California, a development that could hamper his spree of bizarre, blundering political schemes.
Wohl and former business partner Matthew Johnson were both charged with the unlawful sale of securities in a Riverside Superior Court criminal complaint filed on Aug. 19.
Wohl has not been arrested yet on the charge, according to the court docket. Prosecutors recommended $5,000 bonds for both Wohl and Johnson.
The allegation that Wohl and Johnson unlawfully sold securities centers on one of Wohls financial companies, Montgomery Assets. A warrant application filed by the Riverside County District Attorneys Office notes that the three-year statute of limitations on the case was set to expire at the end of August 2019, meaning prosecutors had to file by the end of last month if they wanted to pursue charges.
In 2016 Jacob Wohl and Matthew Johnson represented themselves as members of a company called Montgomery Assets, the warrant application reads. On July 27, 2016 through August 27, 2016 Jacob Wohl and Matthew Johnson offered for sale unqualified securities in violation of California Corporations Code 25110 which has a three year statute of limitations and must be tolled by the issuance of an arrest warrant.
Wohl, who became notorious on Twitter for his devoted replies to presidential tweets and fake claims to have heard liberals praising Trump in hipster coffee shops, didnt respond to a request for comment. Johnson also couldnt be reached for comment, and the DA did not respond to a request for comment.
Wohls detractors have often puzzled over how, until now, he had avoided serious legal consequences. Thats because Wohl has routinely pushed the legal and political envelope to seemingly absurd lengths.
In November 2018, Wohl teamed up with Washington lobbyist Jack Burkman for a spectacularly failed attempt to concoct a bogus sexual assault smear against then-Special Counsel Robert Mueller. The pair also attempted to fake a similar allegation against Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg, which flopped after The Daily Beast obtained audio of Wohl and Burkman trying to pressure a potential victim into making a false allegation against Buttigieg.
In February, Wohl faked a death threat against himself, then reported the bogus crime to Minneapolis police. This summer, a phone number associated with Wohl was used to threaten a former GOP campaign worker, although Wohl denied involvement in the incident.
The California charge against Wohl, 21, dates back to his pre-politics career in finance.
In 2016, Wohl,then a teenager,portrayed himself in media reports and pitches to potential investors as a hedge fund wunderkind.
Investigators with the National Futures Association started to look into the operations of another Wohl company after a client complained that Wohl claimed to have rapidly increased the clients $75,000 investment to $89,000. When the client tried to withdraw his money, however, Wohl allegedly only sent back $44,000.
The investigators noted in a report that Wohls promotional materials for the company claimed that Wohl had nine years of trading experience. That claim meant that Wohl,then 17 or 18 years old,would have been trading since he was 8 or 9 years old.
Wohl withdrew from the NFA ahead of the investigation, and eventually received a lifetime ban from the group.
Wohl has faced other consequences over his financial work. In 2017, the Arizona Corporation Commission ordered Wohl to pay nearly $33,000 in restitution, as well as an additional $5,000, for alleged violations of securities law. A commission spokeswoman told the Arizona Republic in Nov. 2018 that Wohl had not made any payments on the money that he owed under the fine.
Despite those setbacks, Wohl hasnt left finance behind entirely. Ahead of the 2020 presidential race, Wohl solicited potential investors on a plan to profit from political betting markets by manipulating them with fake scandals and other fraudulent news stories. Its not clear what happened to that plan.
Sari Fordham contributed reporting.