According to a recent InvestmentNews article, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) accused Denver-based Coachman Energy Partners and its CEO, Randall D. Kenworthy of miscalculating and inadequately disclosing approximately $1.1 million in management fees and $449,000 in management-related expenses. Allegedly, between 2011 and 2014, Coachman Energy and Kenworthy failed to adequately disclose their methodology for calculating the management fees and management-related expenses it charged to four private oil and gas funds. This subsequently caused inadequate disclosures regarding its fees and expense calculations in the private funds’ operative documents and in forms files with the Commission. The four funds included: Coachman Energy Land II LLC, Bakken Income Fund LLC, Bakken Drilling Fund III LP and Bakken Drilling Fund IV LP. Bakken Income Fund filed for bankruptcy in October of last year after raising $20.6 million from 309 investors, according to a filing with the SEC. Coachman and Mr. Kenworthy agreed to censures and to cease and desist from committing or causing any violations and any future violations of sections of the Investment Advisers Act. Coachman also disgorged $2 million plus interest, and each agreed to a civil penalty of $50,000. Please call us today if you were recommended Bakken Drilling Fund by your broker or brokerage firm. We are securities attorneys who can help you recover those losses on a contingency fee basis in the arbitration forum.
Stoltmann Law Offices is investigating James Plaster, an Alabama-based Ameriprise Financial Services broker. He allegedly failed to manage a portfolio with reasonable care and to perform his job properly. He also made unsuitable mutual fund investment recommendations. These are all against securities laws. His firm, Ameriprise, can be sued in the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA0 arbitration forum on a contingency fee basis. Please call our Chicago-based law offices today at 312-332-4200 to find out how. Plaster was registered with Merrill Lynch in Tuscaloosa, Alabama from September 1993 until April 2017 and Ameriprise in Tuscaloosa since April 2017. He has two customer disputes against him, one of which is currently pending. Please call our securities law firm today at 312-332-4200 to find out how to bring a claim against Ameriprise on a contingency fee basis.
Stoltmann Law Offices is investigating Kirsten Flynn Hawkins, a former registered representative with Suntrust Investment Services, Inc. Ms. Hawkins allegedly took money from customers and used it to pay for personal expenses from the period of August 2011 until August 2014. She is being investigated for misuing customer funds.
Ms. Hawkins previously worked at Crestar Securities Corporation in Richmond, Virginia from May 1995 until May 2000, Suntrust Securities in Atlanta, Georgia from May 2000 until August 2001 and Edward Jones in St. Louis, Missouri from August 2001 until January 2003. She is no longer registered with any member firm. If you invested money with Kirsten Flynn Hawkins, our Chicago-based securities attorneys may be able to help you recover your losses. Please call us at 312–332–4200 to find out how. The call is no-cost, no-obligation.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of North Carolina put almost a dozen ponzi scheme masterminds behind bars. Keith Franklin Simmons, the head of the scheme, was sentenced to 40 years in prison late last year, and recently, Jonathan D. Davey, another fraudster was sentenced to more than 21 years. Almost $40 million was taken from investors in the fraud.
Simmons began the fraud in 2007 when he formed “Black Diamond,” and touted it as a legitimate hedge fund involved in foreign currency trading. He told investors Black Diamond had safeguards in place, was independently audited, and had consistent high rates of return. None of this was true. He also recruited individuals to serve as regional managers of the hedge fund, and stole money from these individuals. Many of them sold annuity products to the elderly. They were promised financial compensation for selling Black Diamond and for bringing on new investors in the scam. None of the money was actually invested.
Davey, a certified public accountant and investment manager in Ohio, oversaw the various hedge fund managers. He controlled the funds for the scheme and posted on a website that claimed false returns. All of the accounts totaled one million, when the website claimed that it was over $120 million. Davey and Simmons both spent the money on personal items and lavish luxuries. By December 2009, the FBI placed Simmons in custody. If you invested money with either man or with Black Diamond, you may be able to recover your investment losses. Please call our Chicago-based securities law firm at 312–332–4200 to speak to one of our securities attorneys.
We are investigating the sales practices of New York based Max International Broker Dealer Group. The firm was recently censured, fined $335,000 and ordered to pay $482,111.27, plus accrued interest, in restitution to customers. The firm appealed the decision to the NAC but later withdrew its appeal. The sanctions were based on findings that the firm willfully charged fraudulent, excessive, undisclosed markups to customers in connection with the sale of large volumes of penny stocks from its proprietary account.
The findings stated that the firm charged commissions, implying to some of its customers that the commissions represented all of the firm’s profit from the transactions. The findings also stated that the firm failed to record trade details on order tickets and other records, failed to record the terms of the sales accurately, and failed to report the trades as required, which kept customers and regulators from detecting the fraudulent markups. To learn if investment losses at Max International can be recovered, please call us.
Stoltmann Law Offices is interested in speaking to investors who may hold non-purpose loans secured by their brokerage accounts and have suffered huge losses. Securities-backed lines of credit (SBLOCs) are often marketed by brokerage firms to investors as an easy way to cash out securities accounts by borrowing against the assets in a portfolio without actually having to liquidate securities. These particular lines of credit allow investors to borrow money using securities held in the investment accounts as collateral and allow the investor to continue to trade securities in the pledged accounts. Typically, an SBLOC requires monthly interest-only payments until repaid. Banks such as UBS, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo and JP Morgan are all recommending that their high net-worth investors take out loans against their brokerage accounts. The Wall Street Journal reported that securities based loans increased by 28% at UBS between 2011 and 2013. Many brokers make large commissions on the sale of SBLOCs, but they may not be suitable for all investors. If you were recommended or sold a SBLOC, please call our securities law firm in Chicago today to speak to an attorney for free.
According to a Complaint with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Winston Wade Turner was accused of engaging in a course of deception and other misconduct in connection with sales and exchange of variable annuities involving numerous customers. Turner also allegedly induced customers to exchange their existing variable annuities and other investments while hiding from his firm the true source of the customer funds, and misrepresented the source of the customer’s funds and falsely denied in transaction document that the customers had previously held variable annuities or other investments. The customers were actually surrendering or liquidating such investments to fund the new variable annuities he was recommending and selling to them. Turner also allegedly participated in undisclosed and unapproved private securities transactions and engaged in outside business activities. He also made misrepresentations and omissions of material fact to customers in connection with some of his variable annuity recommendations. These are against securities rules and regulations.
Turner was registered with MetLife Securities in Atlanta, Georgia from December 2011 until July 2013, and Pruco Securities in Sarasota, Florida from July 2013 until August 2015. He has nine customer disputes against him, four of which are currently pending. He is not licensed within the industry, according to his online FINRA BrokerCheck report. His former firm, MetLife, may be liable for investment losses. Please call us to find out how.
Stoltmann Law Offices is investigating Robyn Lee, a former registered representative with Independent Financial Group. Ms. Lee is not currently licensed to act as a broker or investment advisor. Ms. Lee was accused of misrepresenting and omitting material facts, breaching fiduciary duty and recommending unsuitable tenant-in-common (TIC) investments, among other transgressions. TICs are the co-owners of an undivided interest in real property. TICs each own a separate and undivided interest in the same real property and each has an equal right to the possession and use of the property. TIC investments can be risky ones. A broker’s duty is to only recommend investments that are suitable for her clients. She must take into account their age, net worth, portfolio, investment sophistication and investment objectives. If she does not, her firm can be held liable for investment losses, because they have a duty to reasonably supervise her while she is employed there.
Robyn Lee was registered with McClurg Capital Corporation in San Rafael, California from April 1997 until December 1998, Capital Brokerage Corporation in Richmond, Virginia from March 1997 until October 1999, Passport Securities in Burlingame, California from October 1999 until March 2000, Securities America in Lavista, Nebraska from March 2000 until March 2002, EPlanning Securities in Roseville, California from March 2002 until January 2004, Berthel, Fisher & Co. Financial Services in Burlingame from January 2004 until May 2007 and Independent Financial Grop in San Mateo, California from May 2007 until June 2015. She has 11 customer disputes against her, two of which are currently pending. She is not licensed within the industry.
If you or someone you know invested and lost money with Robyn Lee, you may be able to sue her former firm, Independent, for financial losses. Please call our securities law firm to find out how we can help you bring a claim against them. The call is free with no obligation.
Did you or someone you know lose money with Damon Vickers or Frank Black, both former brokers with Southeast Investments? If so, you may be entitled to recover your investment losses. Vickers had regulatory actions filed against him by the Sate of Washington Securities Division, alleging that he engaged in excessive trading in customer discretionary brokerage accounts. Allegedly, from 2009 until 2012, Vickers generated $5.3 million in commissions from these trading activities. The division found that the commissions were unreasonable compared to what customers would have been charged had they been offered fee-based accounts. This is often referred to as “churning” and is when a broker excessively trades in a customer’s account in order to generate commissions. It is when a broker frequently buys and sells securities that do little to meet the client’s investment objectives. It is an illegal and unethical practice that violates securities rules and regulations. A broker must take into account a client’s age, net worth, investment objectives, portfolio and investment sophistication before recommending a security.
During this time period, Frank Black was Vickers’ designated supervisor. The state found that Black violated the Securities Act of Washington by failing to reasonably supervise Vickers by approving his commission schedule and failed to maintain adequate supervisory policies regarding the review of discretionary accounts for signs of excessive trading, which is also against securities rules and regulations. Frank Black and Southeast Investments had a duty to reasonably supervise their representatives during the time they were employed there. Their lack of supervision could make them liable for investment losses and Southeast Investments can be sued to recover money.
Vickers was registered with the following firms: The Stuart-James Company, Madison Chapin Associates, Escalator Securities, Aurex Financial Corp, Melbourne GSI Corp, Securities America, Clearing Services of America, Laidlaw Equities, Janssen-Meyers Associates, Capital Securities of America, Westminster Financial Securities, LaSalle St. Securities, Brokersxpress LLC, International Financial Solutions, and Southeast Investments in San Juan, Puerto Rico from October 2008 until February 2014. He has three customer disputes against him and one criminal. He is not currently licensed within the industry.
According to his Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Stewart Clinton Malloy was recently fined $5,000 and suspended from association with any FINRA member firm in any capacity for 30 business days. According to his AWC, Malloy effected transactions in the account of customers without having obtained prior written authorization from the customers. Malloy also allegedly falsely stated on a compliance questionnaire that he had no discretionary accounts. These are against securities rules and regulations. Firms such as Morgan Stanley have a duty to reasonably supervise their brokers, and, if they do not, can be held responsible for financial losses in the FINRA arbitration forum. We sue firms such as Morgan Stanley to recover losses for investors.
Stewart Clinton Malloy was registered with Merrill Lynch in New York, New York from January 1982 until September 1996, and Morgan Stanley in Riverhead, New York from September 1996 until October 2015. He has six customer disputes against him. He is not currently registered with any member firm.