Colorado’s securities commissioner alleged in a Denver court this week that a Federal Heights man bilked 13 investors in his real estate projects, including a proposed conversion of a downtown Colorado Springs hotel, out of $2.3 million.
Joseph Libkey Jr., 36, was sued Monday by Securities Commissioner Tung Chan, who alleges that Libkey carried out two types of securities fraud between 2019 and 2022.
The two counts of securities fraud are civil charges that carry possible monetary penalties. Libkey has not been charged with any crimes, court records show.
Libkey, who previously lived in Maryland, founded Blueprint Investment Group, or BIG, in Thornton in early 2016. In 2019, he convinced a woman named Surreatha White to invest $400,000 in BIG soon after she moved from Maryland to Colorado.
To do so, Libkey took a resume that belonged to a BIG contractor, copied it and claimed it was his, according to Chan. He falsely said that he had experience buying and selling real estate, including as a developer for the Baltimore Housing Authority, Chan alleges.
Libkey told White that he was raising $9.5 million for the development of Roth Park Place, a condo building in Federal Heights, and investors would receive a 10-percent return that September. Instead, BIG stopped paying contractors, liens were filed against the project, and BIG didn’t repay White until 2021, according to Chan and a lawsuit White filed.
Still, White fared better than other Libkey investors, according to Chan’s accusations.
In 2020, while operating BIG, Libkey started another company: the Blueprint OZ Fund. That company then sent three memos, each different from the other, to prospective real estate investors. The memos failed to disclose the lawsuits and liens at Roth Park, Chan says.
When told they would double their money in a year, nine investors sent $770,000 to BOF. No money has been returned to investors, according to the securities commissioner.
Finally, in late 2021, Libkey started a third company: BP Antlers OZ LLC. By the following May, three investors who had not been told about defaults, lawsuits and liens surrounding Libkey’s other companies invested $1.15 million in an apartment conversion project in Colorado Springs, Chan’s lawsuit alleges. It doesn’t say if the investors lost their money.
Libkey’s plan was to convert the historic Antlers Hotel in downtown Colorado Springs into apartments, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette. Those plans, first announced publicly last August, were abandoned in December. The Antlers will remain a hotel.
The securities commissioner accuses Libkey and his three companies of committing securities fraud by lying to investors and because they were not licensed securities brokers. She seeks an undisclosed amount of money in damages from Libkey and the companies.
Two attorneys for Libkey, Alexis Reller and Kate Strauss with Galvanize Law in Denver, did not respond to requests for comment this week.
Those lawyers are also representing Libkey and BIG in an ongoing Adams County case in which they are accused by the Roth Park Place Association of doing shoddy work on the condos, leading to a long list of problems. Libkey and BIG deny wrongdoing.
Several other lawsuits against Libkey have been filed and resolved in recent years.
White, the initial BIG investor, sued him for a refund in May 2020, one week before she filed a complaint with the Colorado Division of Securities. That case was settled out of court.
A Chinese investor sued Libkey and BIG that same year. He accused them of taking $3.1 million of his money they were holding in a trust, investing it in Roth Park Place without the man’s permission, and refusing to reimburse him. That case was also settled.
In 2021, Libkey was involved in back-and-forth litigation involving two condos he owned in the Glass House complex at 1700 Bassett St. in LoDo. A lender sued Libkey, said he owed $374,000, and sought to foreclose on the condos. Libkey sued the lender, arguing it could only foreclose on one of the condos. The cases were settled and one condo sold.