Judge freezes investor's assets including part ownership of Chattanooga Lookouts

Staff file photo / The assets of Lookouts part-owner John J. Woods have been frozen in an ongoing investigation of an alleged Ponzi scheme.

Assets including 20% ownership of the Chattanooga Lookouts were placed in receivership Tuesday by a judge in Atlanta after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission accused investor John J. Woods of running "a massive Ponzi scheme for over a decade."

Attorneys for Woods disputed that claim during the hearing Tuesday, saying there are considerable assets available to repay the 400 investors in Horizon Private Equity, who were promised returns of 6-7%.

"There may be mismanagement, there may be disclosure issues, but this is not a 'run when the music stops and all the money's gone and it's just Lamborghinis and jets,'" attorney Dave Chaiken said.

Woods, a 56-year-old East Ridge native, lives in Marietta, Georgia, and maintains offices around the country, including in the UBS building in downtown Chattanooga.