Articles Tagged with FBI

Stoltmann Law Offices is investigating allegations in a grand jury indictment in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, levied against Keith Todd Ashley, of Collin County, Texas.  According to the indictment, which was filed on November 13, 2020, Ashley ran a Ponzi scheme while a registered representative for Parkland Securities, formally known Sammons Securities Company, and Midland National, a life insurance and annuity company. According to the indictment, Ashley recommended investors purchase UITs (Unit Investment Trusts) through Parkland and another entity called SmartTrust, which was an investment offered by another brokerage firm, Hennion & Walsh. The indictment alleges that Ashley made representations via email to clients that these investments offered returns of anywhere between 3% and 9% per year, with no risk to the investor’s principal, and that the securities were offered through Parkland and SmartTrust.  The indictment further alleges that instead of investing the money as represented, Ashley converted a substantial amount of it – more than $1 million – for his own use.

If you invested with Keith Ashley and believe you have suffered losses in connection with his alleged Ponzi scheme, please contact Stoltmann Law Offices, at 312-332-4200 for a free, no obligation consultation with a securities attorney.  

The news in connection with Mr. Ashley and his scheme turned quite dark just this afternoon when the publication Investment News ran a story indicating that Ashley was arrested in Carrolton,Texas on suspicion of committing murder. The story reports that Ashley is accused of murdering an investor-client in February 2020, staging the murder as a suicide, in some attempt to gain access to the victim’s money. Ashley was discharged from Parkland Securities in October suggesting he was fired for failing to disclose outside business activities.  This is a common response by brokerage firms when it turns out that one of their registered representatives has been running a Ponzi scheme.

Two Chattanooga, Tennessee-based brokers, James Hugh Brennan III and Douglas Albert Dyer are under investigation for securities fraud by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance (TDCI) and the FBI. Both operated Broad Street Ventures in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and allegedly raised more than $5 million from investors without using the money as promised. In February, the TDCI failed a cease-and-desist order against Broad Street, Brennan and Dyer, alleging that they had sold unregistered securities, were not registered to sell securities in Tennessee, and had engaged in fraud by failing to disclose the existence of a desist-and-refrain order previously issued in California. The SEC issued an asset freeze on July 22nd. The TDCI then referred the case to the SEC and FBI for further action.

Both men allegedly sold shares in eight similarly named companies to more than 240 investors since 2008 without ever registering the stock they promised. They then transferred the money to personal accounts or to those belonging to their wives. They failed to tell investors that Brennan was banned from the brokerage industry and Dyer was suspended and fined for executing unauthorized transactions in customer accounts. If you believe you are a victim of Brennan or Dyer, or Broad Street Ventures, please call our securities law offices in Chicago at 312-332-4200. The call is free with no obligation. Attorneys are standing by to take your call.

According to an Investment News article on Wednesday, four independent broker-dealers that sold United Development Funding (UDF) real estate investment trusts (REITs) could soon face arbitration claims. The UDF Funding IV, which was a nontraded REIT that later listed as a publicly traded REIT, allegedly operated for years as a ponzi scheme. The four firms that were instrumental in selling the product were: Berthel Fisher & Co., Financial Services Inc., Centaurus Financial Inc. and VSR Financial Services Inc. Last week, the FBI raided UDF’s offices in Dallas, Texas, and its shares were down 81% over the last 12 months. Brokers who sold the REIT allegedly promised investors (many of them retirees), promising them high-yield offerings and returns of eight to ten percent. In many cases, half of the retirees’ net worth was tied up in the investments. REITs tend to be high-risk and illiquid products that are not suitable for all investors. A broker has a duty and a responsibility to recommend only those investments that are suitable for their clients. The broker must take into account the client’s net worth, age and investment objectives before selling the product. If he does not, his firm can be liable for investment losses. Please call our securities law firm if you purchased UDF REITs from one of the four previously mentioned companies, or any other companies. You could be entitled to recover your losses.

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