A Winter Park, Florida man, Justin Spearman, was sentenced to 27 months in prison for a ponzi scheme based on fake oil investments. In 2015, he was indicted on one count of wire fraud and three counts of identity theft. He was charged with trying to sell royalties on oil wells that he didn’t own, to a businessman in Texas. Spearman allegedly forged emails and documents, and used a prominent oil company’s name, ripping off one customer to the tune of $3 million. He then traveled to different places, trying to reinvent himself to escape the law. He used investor money to fund his lavish lifestyle and to buy numerous luxury automobiles, including a BMW, a Bentley, a Porsche and a Range Rover.
Former IFS Securities broker Jay Chitnis was named a respondent in a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) complaint alleging that he “engaged in a scheme to fraudulently obtain funds from his member firm’s clearing firm in order to keep the firm afloat and support his own lifestyle.” He also participated in a “pattern of fictitious trading” in which he “would purchase fixed income securities into his firm’s inventory account from institutional customers and then sell the same positions from the firm’s inventory to other institutional customers.” He allegedly “intentionally and wrongfully obtained and exercised ownership over $680,917.36 of the clearing firm’s funds as a result of his fictitious trading scheme.” This complaint was lodged in February 2016.
Another complaint, filed in 2001, claimed that Mr. Chitnis, while employed at Stoever Glass & Co., breached his fiduciary duty, recommended unsuitable investments, failed to disclose information and sold multiple leases “which turned out to be a ponzi scheme.” Chitnis was registered with Stoever, Glass & Co. in New York, New York from September 1992 until April 1995, Gruntal & Co., CIBC Oppenheimer Corp, First Union Capital Markets Corp, First Union Securities, McDonald Investments Inc., Register & Akers Investments, Yieldquest Securities and IFS Securities in Atlanta, Georgia from October 2015 until March 2016. He has one customer dispute against him. He is not licensed within the industry, according to his online FINRA BrokerCheck report. Please call us today if you feel like you have a claim against Jay Chitnis. You may be able to sue his former firm for not properly supervising him while he was employed there. The call to us is free. Please call today as time is of the essence.
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 former financial advisor Dante DeMiro and his employer’s supervision of him. Recently, DeMiro has pled guilty to three counts of bank fraud and two counts of wire fraud and he received a 10 year prison sentence. Demiro ran a classic ponzi scheme defrauding dozens of investors over at least a three year period of time. Ultimately, his employer was obligated to supervise his activities. If it failed to do so, his employer brokerage firm could be liable for the losses his clients sustained.
By calling Stoltmann Law Offices in Chicago at 312-332-4200 and speaking to an attorney for free. We are securities lawyers who represent investment victims of UDF. Berthel Fisher sold investments in UDF to customers and these investments were not suitable for all investors. Allegedly, the United Development Funding IV (UDF) funded a large portion of its 2015 distributions to shareholders with borrowed money, in a similar fashion to a ponzi scheme. If you purchased UDF securities between June 4, 2014 and December 10, 2015, you may be entitled to recover your stolen funds. On December 10 and 11, UDF shares were down over 50% as a short-seller described the company as a ponzi scheme. Allegedly, UDF and other real estate investment trusts (REITs) used new debt and equity capital to pay off old investors. Stoltmann Law Offices is also investigating the alleged short-sellers. A complaint alleges that UDF senior executives misled investors by failing to disclose the liquidity relationships between the funds. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is also investigating the ponzi-like real estate scheme. The company’s nondisclosures of material information, their class period statements, operations and prospects were false or misleading and/or lacked a reasonable basis in violation of securities laws.
Berthel Fisher had an ironclad obligation to reasonably supervise its brokers, and, because it did not, can be held liable for losses in the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) arbitration forum. We take cases on a contingency fee basis, which means we do not make money unless you recover yours. Please call as soon as possible, as there is a statute of limitations on most of these cases.
A Florida executive, Navin Xavier, was charged for his role in two fraud schemes which cost 100 investors more than $30 million. Xavier was the former CEO of Essex Holdings and convinced investors to purchase interests in sugar transportation and iron ore mining in Chile, and another involving economic development funds in South Carolina. He was charged with 15 counts of wire fraud. He ran the scheme from September 2010 until May 2014 while operating Essex Holdings. Eventually, the scam turned into a ponzi scheme. Xavier also used forged documents and false promises when soliciting investments, and spent the money on jewelry, luxury vehicles and cosmetic surgery. Xavier used Essex to secure $1.2 million in funds and about $1.5 million in commercial real estate from the South Carolina Coordinating Council for Economic Development. He was supposed to develop an older industrial property into a diaper plant and rice packaging facility. Instead, Xavier spent that money on personal expenses as well.
William Wells, who pleaded guilty on securities wire fraud charges earlier this year, was sentenced Tuesday in Manhattan federal court to 46 months in prison. Wells, formerly of Manhattan and New Jersey, was ordered to pay restitution as well, in a yet-to-be-determined amount, forfeit the proceeds of his scheme and undergo three years of supervised release, according to a press release issued by the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Wells used his company, investment firm Promitor Capital LLC, to defraud more than 30 investors out of $1.5 million. The investors included his family, friends and colleagues. He convinced them to invest with him by telling them he had consistently achieved positive returns in the stock market. He then used their money to pay for credit card bills, car payments and private school tuition. Wells was charged after an investigation led by the office’s Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force, with assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
According to a recent Disciplinary Proceeding with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), John Bocchino and Rafael Jacinto were accused of engaging in a scheme to circumvent Morgan Stanley’s policies restricting trade in Venezuelan bonds. To do so, the men used fictitious nominee accounts that appropriated trades in the accounts and falsified firm documents. As a result of this, both men were able to trade approximately $190 million in Venezuelan bonds. Both men were registered representatives of Morgan Stanley in the New York City office. Both men were terminated from the firm as this was against securities rules and regulations.
John Bocchino was registered with JP Morgan Securities in New York from July 1998 until October 2000, Citigroup Global Markets in New York from February 2001 until June 2009 and Morgan Stanley in New York from June 2009 until March 2012. He is currently registered with UBS in New York and has been since April 2012. He has one customer dispute against him. Jacinto was registered with The Golden, Lender Financial Group in New York from April 1999 until July 1999, TD Waterhouse Investor Services in Omaha, Nebraska from July 1999 until November 2002, Citigroup Global Markets in New York from February 2004 until June 2009 and Morgan Stanley in New York from June 2009 until March 2012. He is currently registered with UBS in New York and has been since April 2012.
If you lost money with John Bocchino or Rafael Jacinto, please call our law offices in Chicago, Illinois today to speak to an attorney for free. We may be able to help you bring a case against Morgan Stanley in the FINRA arbitration forum to recover your investment losses. Morgan Stanley may be responsible for losses on a contingency fee basis. Call today. The call is free with no obligation.
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) fined Prudential Annuities Distributors, Inc. $950,000 for failing to detect and prevent a scheme that resulted in the theft of $1.3 million from an 89-year-old customer’s variable annuity account. FINRA alleged that Prudential Annuities failed to safeguard customers from a former registered sales assistant at LPL Financial, Travis Wetzel. Mr. Wetzel transferred money from the customer’s account to a third-party bank account in his wife’s name. For this, Wetzel was barred from the industry and is a convicted felon. FINRA fined Prudential, stating that the firm should have been privy to “red flags” that should have appeared to the firm. Please call our law firm today to speak to an attorney for free at 312-332-4200.
Stoltmann Law Offices is interested in speaking to those investors who may have invested in Platinum Partners LP and its flagship hedge funds, the Platinum Partners Value Arbitrage Fund and the Platinum Partners Credit Opportunities Fund. These funds may have defrauded investors. We are investigating whether Platinum Partners paid investors who redeemed their hedge fund positions before June 2016 with money gained from newly incoming investors. This may have been a ponzi scheme. Platinum may have misstated the value of its investments, for which there was no public market price, and whether Platinum executives, including Murry Huberfeld, Mark Nordlicht, and others, may have assisted in any wrongdoing that caused harm to Platinum investors. Platinum Partners announced its liquidation of its two hedge funds in a July 20, 2016 letter to investors. The fund also suspended any redemption by investors. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Department of Justice are both investigating Platinum Partners for bribery and fraud. The Federal Bureau of Investigation raided Platinum Partners offices and Huberfeld was arrested for bribing union officials to invest in the fund.