NewsTeam 10 Investigates


Oceanside businessman in trouble with state financial regulator again

Gratia Ventures
Posted at 5:16 PM, Jul 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-20 12:32:18-04

OCEANSIDE, Calif. (KGTV) — An Oceanside man is in trouble—again—for his business practices.

Ron Fleming is accused of taking money from investors in at least two different businesses. He faces a new desist and refrain order from the state’s Department of Financial Protection and Innovation in connection to one of those businesses.

Stephen Read said he invested in one of Fleming’s businesses. He became friends with Fleming when he moved to Oceanside and lived next door to him.

"Great guy," Read said. "I said, boy, this guy is almost too friendly, but that's nice. He's welcomed us into the neighborhood."

In 2019, Read said Fleming approached him about investing in a company called Gratia Ventures. It was a CBD wellness company whose mission statement was to improve people’ wellbeing with “cannabinoid and pure organic products.” Fleming was listed as the company’s Chief Operating Officer and one of four board members.

Read said he invested approximately $21,000.

As of today, Gratia Ventures no longer exists.

“I don't think I'm going to get my money back, but I just want justice done,” Read said.

The Department of Financial Protection and Innovation issued a desist and refrain order in June. The document stated that Fleming made “misrepresentations and omissions” about Gratia Ventures and ordered him to stop offering and selling securities in the state.

The document said that Fleming never told investors that he was already in trouble with his previous business, Pacific Teak. Fleming was listed as a founder of that company.

Fleming also faced a desist and refrain order in connection to Pacific Teak in 2016, which is partially why he is in trouble again with this newer business. The DFPI said Fleming never informed prospective investors about this previous order.

With Pacific Teak, people invested in teak trees in Costa Rica, which were supposed to help the rain forests. In turn, people should have seen a return on investment when the trees matured.

Multiple investors said they did not receive any return, losing thousands of dollars to Fleming’s business.

Read would have never given him the money had he known.

“I always thought he was my best friend. I just don't want him to take money from other people,” Read said.

Flemings’s attorney Dominic Amorosa said they had no comment about this latest action. Previously, Amorosa said that "there was no lying nor deceit by Ron Fleming in these matters."

Read said that he is appreciative the DFPI investigated what happened and shed light on the money he lost.

“I’m very appreciative for what they’ve done. They’ve gone above and beyond,” he said.