Articles Tagged with oil and gas fraud

Chicago-based Stoltmann Law Offices has represented investors who’ve suffered losses from dealing with unscrupulous investment brokers selling exchange-traded products. Many of these high-risk products are unsuitable for retail investors.

With the COVID-19 crisis roiling financial markets, many investors have been sold products that rise when market indexes or individual securities fall. Many “exchange-linked products” (ETPs) often use borrowed money, or leverage, to magnify gains when the market drops, but they can also increase losses. They are generally only suitable for sophisticated investors and are linked to complex underlying futures contracts.

When the coronavirus crisis first made major headlines in the U.S. in early March, the stock, bond and commodities markets crashed. Since markets over-react to widespread greed and fear, traders went into mass selling mode over (later justified) expectations that demand for nearly everything from luxury goods to commodities would drop dramatically.

Stoltmann Law Offices continues to investigate William Mark Heiden, a registered broker with Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles, California. Mr. Heiden has six customer disputes against him, three of which are currently pending and three of which are resolved. In October of 2015, Heiden was accused of wrongful, intentional, fraudulent and deceptive activities including unsuitable and unauthorized trading, falsifying documents, misrepresentation and omission of material facts. The alleged damages were $1,500,000. In the second of three resolved claims in October 2015, Heiden was accused of not executing a limit sell order and his customer allegedly asserted that he did not understand the implication of a limit sell order. The monetary compensation amount in the case was $549,920 and the individual contribution amount was $275,000. The alleged damages were $14,000 and the settlement amount was $9,000. The third resolved action was in February of 2016 and the allegations state that the conservative investors were shocked to discover non-investment grade status of bonds in their accounts; questioned whether it was prudent to concentrate investments in the energy sector, noted the severe decline in the value of energy sector securities and requested an investment plan and guidelines, which was not fulfilled. No action was taken and the case was closed, as his firm, Wedbush Securities, denied the claim.

The first of the three pending claims against him alleged, from July 2013 until the present, Heiden engaged in wrongful, intentional, fraudulent and deceptive activities in client accounts including unsuitable and unauthorized trading. The complaint against him includes claims for breach of fiduciary duty, constructive fraud and violation of California code. The alleged damages were of an unspecified amount causing losses over $700,000. This claim was filed in September of this year. The second claim, also filed in September of this year, stated wrongful conduct, breach of fiduciary duty, constructive fraud, fraud by misrepresentation and omission, breach of written contract, failure to supervise and control and violation of state and federal securities laws. Alleged damages were over $1 million. The third pending customer dispute against Heiden was received in August of this year and alleged that he engaged in unauthorized trading and accrued a significant amount of margin debt for the client, when the client did not intend to use margin for trading purposes. Alleged damages are $200,000.

Mr. Heiden recommended Energy XXI Ltd Bermuda (symbol EXXI) to some of his clients. Energy XXI was an independent oil and natural gas development and production company whose growth strategy emphasized acquisitions and organic drilling programs. The company’s properties are located in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico waters and the Gulf Coast onshore.  Unfortunately, the security lost over 95% of its value in an approximate six month period and is now valued at less than 10 cents a share.

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