Articles Tagged with Investment Fraud

AdobeStock_78306447-1-300x199Stoltmann Law Offices continues to investigate Anthony Diaz, a broker with IBN Financial Services in Pennsylvania. Diaz allegedly began over-concentrating a client’s irreplaceable retirement assets into high-risk, commission-laden private placements, real estate investment trusts (REITs), and other illiquid, alternative investments. The customer was looking to generate income, while protecting his principal. He agreed to move his assets to IBN with the understanding that he was looking for stable investments. REITs, private placements and other alternative investments that Diaz recommended and sold to him, did not align with the customer’s wishes, and Diaz, as his financial advisor, had a duty to only recommend and sell to him those investments that were suitable for him, based on his age, net worth, investment objectives and investment sophistication and risk tolerance levels.
In November 2012, Diaz solicited the customer to purchase $350,000 worth of Bakken Drilling Fund III, which is now defunct. It is an oil, gas and energy stock, and these tend to be highly risky and illiquid investments. The fund filed for bankruptcy in October 2016, after raising over $20 million from 309 investors. This is according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). He also put him into Ameritech College Holdings for $95,000, ARC NY REIT, and ICAP Pacific Northwest Opportunity Fund.
According to publicly available records with FINRA online, Anthony Diaz has been permanently barred from the securities industry, and has 56 disclosures on his CRD report. 44 of these are customer complaints against him. He was registered with IBN Financial Services in Scotrun, Pennsylvania from September 2012 until April 2015. IBN can be liable for losses if you lost money because of Anthony Diaz.

AdobeStock_77502568-1-300x199Former UBS broker John MacColl was charged with defrauding more than 15 retail investors in a $4 million scheme. He used high-pressure sales tactics that targeted mostly elderly retirees, according to a complaint filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in federal court in Michigan. He persuaded clients to invest in a “highly-sought-after” private fund that would diversify their portfolios and provide investment returns as high as 20%, exceeding the returns they would receive with investments at UBS. Between 2008 and 2018, MacColl told investors to sell or take a line of credit out against the securities in their accounts and to deposit the money into their personal bank accounts, according to the complaint. He then told them to make checks payable to “Mac 011” or “Mac01”. He then added his name to the payee line and deposited the checks into his own account. Other criminal charges were filed in a federal court in Michigan this week. One victim invested her life savings and money from her deceased husband’s life insurance payout, which she was going to use to pay for college for her three children. MacCall spent the money on personal expenses, and about $410,000 was used to pay back other investors in a ponzi-scheme fashion.

AdobeStock_66548440-1-300x169The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has barred former Comprehensive Asset Management broker Pamela Shuttleworth, from the securities industry. Ms. Shuttleworth had violated securities laws and internal firm rules. Ms. Shuttleworth failed to respond to a FINRA investigation against her, which resulted in her automatic bar. FINRA was investigating her regarding allegations that she was the supervisor responsible for monitoring the emails of a former representative of her brokerage firm, Comprehensive Asset Management. Pamela Shuttleworth was a registered representative of Comprehensive Asset Management and Servicing from December 2014 until June 2017. She worked in the Parsippany, New Jersey branch. Comprehensive may be liable for losses in the FINRA arbitration forum because the firm had a duty to reasonably supervise Shuttleworth while she was employed there. We take cases on a contingency fee basis only.

AdobeStock_112465076-1-300x164Stoltmann Law Offices continues to investigate National Securities Corp broker Jonathan Aschoff and his recommendations of the following Biotech securities:

Avenue Therapeutics Inc (ATXI.O);

Checkpoint Therapeutics Inc (CKPT.O); and

AdobeStock_82110313-1-300x125According to a recent Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), former Robert W. Baird broker Patrick Phillips has violated securities laws. Mr. Phillips allegedly accepted two loans from a firm customer totaling $70,000. He also used a personal email account for business purposes in contravention of policies. This prevented CGMI from discovering emails related to the customer loan. For this misconduct, he was fined $10,000 and suspended from the industry for five months.
Patrick Jermaine Phillips, according to online records, is not currently registered as a broker, and has been suspended from the securities industry. He has one customer dispute against him, alleging the taking of a loan from a firm customer, and one regulatory matter against him. He was previously registered with MSI Financial Services in Chicago, Illinois from October 2016 until December 2016, Citigroup Global Markets in Orland Park, Illinois from August 2013 until July 2016, Ameriprise Financial Services in Chicago from August 2010 until August 2013, and Robert W. Baird in Chicago from December 2006 until August 2010. Robert W. Baird may be liable for Phillips losses on a contingency fee basis in the arbitration forum. The firm had a duty to reasonably supervise its brokers.

AdobeStock_200379710-300x200Stoltmann Law Offices continues to investigate Healthcare Trust REIT, a non-traded real estate investment trust (REIT), that seeks to acquire a diversified portfolio of real estate properties focusing primarily on healthcare-related assets including medical office buildings, seniors housing, and other healthcare-related facilities. This is according to the company’s website. Recent news suggests that Healthcare Trust may be in further decline, and that investors may have lost money in the REIT. REITs are not suitable for all investors. They tend to be highly illiquid and risky investments, and a broker must take into account a customer’s age, net worth, investment objectives and investment risk tolerance, among other factors before recommending or selling any investment. If he does not, his brokerage firm may be liable for losses on a contingency fee basis, because the firm has a duty to reasonably supervise its representatives in order to make sure they do not violate securities laws or internal firm rules. You may have options if your broker recommended or sold you Healthcare Trust REIT investments. We take cases on a contingency fee basis only.

AdobeStock_194438920-300x200Former LPL broker Sanders Spangler was barred from the securities industry by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). LPL terminated him for executing unauthorized trades in non-discretionary customer accounts in February 2017. In March 2018, FINRA barred him due to his failure to appear for an on-the-record testimony. Failure to appear for this results in an automatic bar from the industry. In March 2018, Spangler’s ex-wife alleged that he was forging her account documents. This dispute is currently pending. In October 2017, according to Spangler’s FINRA BrokerCheck report within the industry, available online, a customer alleged that he was over-concentrating the customer’s investments in risky energy stocks. He also alleged that Spangler liquidated his account without permission from the customer. This dispute is also currently pending. In June 2017, a customer alleged that Sanders Spangler instigated unsuitable, unauthorized trades in a non-discretionary customer account without the customer’s knowledge or permission. These are all against securities laws and internal firm rules.
Advisors must have the full consent and written approval of the customer before placing any trades. Unauthorized trading occurs when a broker sells a security without the proper written consent needed from the investor. An advisor must also take into account a customer’s age, net worth, investment objectives and investment risk tolerance, among other things when recommending and selling an investment. If he does not, his brokerage firm may be liable for losses. Energy investments, such as the ones Spangler sold to at least one customer, tend to be highly illiquid, unsuitable investments. If investors lose money because of a broker’s recommendation or sale, the brokerage firm may be liable for losses on a contingency fee basis in the FINRA arbitration forum, because the firm has a duty to reasonably supervise its employees while they are registered there.
Sanders Spangler, according to his online, FINRA BrokerCheck report, was previously registered with Edward Jones in St. Louis, Missouri from July 2000 until October 2005 and LPL in San Antonio, Texas from October 2005 until March 2017. He has six customer disputes against him, one of which is currently pending. They allege suspected forgery, over-concentration in energy stocks, account liquidation without client knowledge, unsuitable investments, unauthorized trading, poor performance, and discretion. He has one regulatory matter against him. He has been permanently barred from the securities industry.

AdobeStock_198259345-300x200Stoltmann Law Offices is interested in speaking to those investors who may have been recommended Premium Point Investments, LP by their investment advisor. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that it has charged the New York-based company with inflating the value of private funds it advised by over $200 million. The SEC also charged Premium Point’s CEO Anilesh Ahuja and Amin Majidi, a former partner and portfolio manager at the firm, in the same complaint. According to the complaint, Premium Point described itself as focused on investment opportunities in securities, mortgages, loans, real property, and consumer receivables. The SEC alleged that it ran a scheme from at least September 2015 through March 2016 by inflating the value of its portfolio to hide the poor performance. The fund also allegedly engaged in secret deal where, in exchange for sending trades to a broker-dealer, Premium Point received inflated broker quotes for certain mortgage-backed securities (MBS). Premium also allegedly used mid-point valuations that further inflated the value of securities. This was all done by the fund and its heads to make the holdings appear more attractive to potential investors, and to discourage clients from withdrawing funds. The SEC sued Premium Point in May of this year. Premium Point Investments offerings include the following:

Premium Point Credit Fund, LP

Premium Point ERISA Offshore Mortgage Credit Fund, LTD

AdobeStock_199789587-300x200According to a recent Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), RBC Capital Markets broker Cheryl George has violated securities laws and internal firm rules. Allegedly, George received an email from an individual purporting to be a customer of RBC requesting that she transfer funds for a wire transfer. In order to generate funds for that request, Cheryl George sold securities from the customer’s account without authorization from the customer or from the firm. She told RBC that she had received the customer’s transfer request verbally, when, in fact, she had only received the request over email. This is against securities laws. A broker must receive a verbal request from a customer in order to transfer funds. This misconduct occurred in June of 2017. She was suspended from associating with any Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) member firm in any capacity for 20 days and was fined $5,000.
According to her online, FINRA BrokerCheck report, Cheryl A. George was previously registered with Citigroup Global Markets in Williamsville, New York from March 2001 until June 2009, Morgan Stanley in Williamsville from June 2009 until December 2009, and RBC Capital Markets in Williamsville from December 2009 until April 2018. She is not currently registered as a broker within the industry.

AdobeStock_200379710-300x200Stoltmann Law Offices is investigating Kovack Securities. A customer claimed that Kovack allegedly broke securities laws by failing to perform necessary due diligence on these investments:

Marathon Patent Group Inc.

TrovaGene, Inc.

CNBC
FOX Business
The Wall Street Journal
Bloomberg
CBS
FOX News Channel
USA Today
abc NEWS
DATELINE
npr
Contact Information