Meyer Wilson Representing Investors in Annuity Misrepresentation Case
Meyer Wilson recently filed a securities arbitration case against the Leaders Group, Inc. concerning allegations that its former registered representative, Harold Schwartz, made material misrepresentations regarding the sale of an annuity to firm customers.
Schwartz worked out of the Leaders Group office in Littleton, Colorado from 1995 through June 2015. He is currently registered at Royal Alliance Associates, Inc. The allegations in the case are that Schwartz made certain untrue guarantees to his clients that a variable annuity promised the doubling of its initial investment in ten years from the date of purchase.
If you purchased a variable annuity from Harold Schwartz on the promise that your investment would double in ten years’ time, Meyer Wilson is interested in speaking with you. We have spent two decades working with victims of fraud across the United States, and through our efforts, we have recovered more than $350 million for our clients. Set up a free, in-depth consultation by sending us the details of your situation through our online form.
Did You Lose Money in an Account Managed by Former Cetera Investment Advisers Broker Hui Zhang?
Meyer Wilson is investigating allegations that California-based broker and investment adviser Hui Zhang misrepresented in the recommendation of unsuitable, illiquid Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), including ARC Healthcare Trust. Zhang currently works for Independent Financial Group, LLC. He previously worked for Cetera Investment Advisers LLC.
Three customer disputes were filed against Zhang in connection with his work at Cetera Investment Advisers LLC. One dispute was settled and two are currently pending. Because non-traded REITs do not trade on a public exchange, the underlying real estate must be sold before investors can get their money back. The lack of liquidity makes them highly risky for investors. Regulators have warned that non-traded REITs are unsuitable for most investors. Healthcare Trust, Inc. (formerly ARC Healthcare Trust) is a non-traded REIT that purchases a portfolio of healthcare related real estate properties.
Investment advisers like Hui Zhang are fiduciaries to their clients and must act only in their clients’ best interests. If you suffered losses as a result of Zhang’s misrepresentation, the experienced securities and investment fraud attorneys at Meyer Wilson are interested in hearing from you. Contact us today for a no-cost, no-pressure consultation to discuss your legal options.
Securities And Investment Fraud Statistics [infographic]
According to the latest statistics (2019) reported by the United States Sentencing Commission, securities and investment fraud has increased by 13.3% since the fiscal year 2015. This infographic details the facts you need to know.
- 5,707 federal criminal cases reported to the United States Sentencing Commission were categorized as theft, property destruction, and fraud.
- 4.4% of federal theft, property destruction, and fraud offenses involved securities and investment fraud.
- The number of securities and investment fraud offenders are as follows per year:
- 2015: 218 offenders
- 2016: 221 offenders
- 2017: 230 offenders
- 2018: 213 offenders
- 2019: 247 offenders
- Median Loss For Securities and investment fraud offenses: $2,000,000. The highest loss was in 2015 at over $3,000,000.
- The Southern District of New York was the top for securities and investment fraud offenders.
Source: United States Sentencing Commission
Were You a Victim of Securities Fraud? Contact Meyer Wilson
If you’ve suffered losses due to the negligence of a stockbroker, investment adviser, or brokerage firm, you may be able to pursue recovery. Our experienced investment misconduct attorneys are here to hold financial institutions accountable for fraudulent activities that cause our clients to lose their hard-earned money.
Call Meyer Wilson at (614) 532-4576 or contact us online to speak confidentially with an attorney today.
Massachusetts Charges GPB Capital Holdings With Securities Fraud
William Galvin, the top securities regulator in Massachusetts, filed a Complaint against GPB Capital this week that alleges GPB Capital issued illegal marketing materials filled with misstatements and omissions of material fact in the course of selling its investments to clients.
Meyer Wilson has been on top of the GPB Capital debacle since it started last year, and we currently represent dozens of investor victims across the country. You can read more about our efforts and lawsuits at our website, www.gpblawyer.com.
Galvin identifies some of GPB Capital’s self-dealing in the Complaint, which includes a network of entities that sought to appear different but were one-and-the-same. GPB Capital paid Ascendant Alternative Strategies and Ascendant Capital millions of dollars in connection with marketing GPB Capital funds and in connection with acquisitions made by GPB Capital. Publicly, GPB Capital and Ascendant Capital sought to appear as two distinct companies, but in reality, the Massachusetts regulator says they were one-and-the-same.
The Complaint also details some of the underlying securities fraud under Massachusetts Blue Sky laws – that investors contributed to GPB Capital funds under false and misleading pretenses, in reliance on GPB Capital private placement memoranda and marketing materials, and without knowing that GPB Capital continually engaged in self-dealing from inception.
As time went on and GPB Capital raised more money, Galvin says that GPB Capital was unable to use its capital efficiently. As investor contributions increased, so did the funds required to continue to pay investor distributions. In order to keep up with distributions, GPB Capital began dipping into investor contributions to meet the demands of the 8% monthly distributions. According to the Complaint, the GPB Capital funds’ financials show that distributions were issued that exceeded the funds’ net incomes. But GPB Capital never updated any of its disclosure or marketing materials to reflect this.
In an interview with the Boston Globe, Galvin said,
“CLEARLY THE MATERIALS THAT WERE PRESENTED, THE REPRESENTATIONS THAT WERE MADE, WERE NOT TRUE…. WE’RE LOOKING TO FREE THESE INVESTORS OF THEIR OBLIGATIONS.”
Securities-backed Lines of Credit: Putting Your Financial Future at Risk
Securities-backed lines of credit (SBLOC) are loans that are marketed to investors as an easy way to access cash by borrowing against the assets in their investment portfolios. They are widely pitched by financial advisors and used as a source of revenue for firms in times of solid market returns.
Brokers who recommend SBLOC to their customers often earn additional compensation or a portion of the fees generated from the SBLOC. And, the financial advisor benefits because the client does not have to liquidate assets to pay for things with cash, which would diminish the assets held in the account and the potential fees and commissions that could be earned by the broker in the future.
SBLOC carry enormous risks. As we end the longest bull market in history, sharp declines in virtually all asset classes have caused a wave of margin and maintenance calls. As the value of pledged collateral decreases, investors are expected to come up with the money or their investment positions may be liquidated.
For most investors, coming up with the money to quickly pay off a SBLOC is not an easy task. The typical investor using a SBLOC has spent the money on something that is not easy to sell or cannot be returned, like a house or college tuition payments. In that case, the investor may suffer substantially losses as a result of forced liquidation of the underlying collateral – their investment portfolio. Forced liquidations could also result in substantial tax liability that the investors had not prepared for.
If your financial advisor recommended using your investment portfolio as collateral to a loan and you lost money as a result, the attorneys at Meyer Wilson are interested in speaking with you. Our investment fraud lawyers are nationally recognized for representing investors across the country in securities arbitration and litigation to recover losses caused by the misconduct of brokerage firms and financial advisors. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Meyer Wilson Is Representing Victims Of The Optionsellers.com Catastrophic Loss Event
The investment fraud attorneys at Meyer Wilson have sued the brokerage firm INTL FCStone on behalf of nine families who were devastated financially during an options trading disaster in November 2018.
FCStone handled the trades that James Cordier of OptionSellers.com made for 300 investors. Cordier recruited investors to open accounts with FCStone, promising high returns and vigilant risk management. OptionSellers.com clients were told that Cordier’s strategy was a conservative one with little risk of principal loss. In reality, the options trading that Cordier was doing in these FCStone accounts was not properly hedged in order to provide adequate downside protection. FCStone sat by and watched as OptionSeller.com clients were increasingly concentrated in highly volatile natural gas and crude oil option positions.
On November 14, 2018, natural gas prices spiked and crude oil prices dropped, causing losses to investors that exceeded the amount of value in their accounts. FCStone sweepingly liquidated all accounts, rather than contacting customers and allowing them to meet the resulting margin calls as is required by industry rules.
Meyer Wilson is a national investment fraud law firm that works to protect investors who have been victims of investment fraud and misconduct. If you have suffered financial losses and want to discuss your rights and legal options, give us a call for a free consultation.
Investment Scams In 2020 You Could Be Targeted By
While a new year may have brought new resolutions for you, it also comes with investment scams that consumers need to worry about. Some of them have been around a while, but others are relatively new and gaining traction. Most financial experts will tell you that a sign that an investment opportunity may be a scam is the promise of high returns. You should also be wary of anyone who says their investment comes with no risks. Nobody can guarantee an investment return.
Watch Out for These Scams
Over the last few decades, many notorious Ponzi schemes have made the news. While many people have heard of Ponzi schemes, few actually understand the inner workings of these investment scams. With these scams, investors are paid returns from their own money or money paid by future investors rather than from actual earned revenue through investments. This is unsustainable, and a Ponzi scheme often leaves the bulk of its investors with no money at all.
2. Promissory notes
A promissory note is a form of debt, similar to an IOU or a loan. Companies may issue these to raise money. However, fraudsters throughout the country have begun to use promissory notes as ways to defraud investors. These individuals may convince somebody that they have a legitimate and lucrative company and promise major returns when in reality, they may not have a company at all or have no plans for growth.
3. Real estate-related investments
These scams often come in the form of real estate investing seminars that market aggressively to alternative routes of owning and making money off of real estate. Fraudsters will typically brag about how much money they have made through simple real estate investments in an attempt to get your money with the promises of the same returns. In reality, your money is what they are profiting from and you may never see any returns.
4. Cryptocurrency-related investments products
Cryptocurrency is incredibly difficult to understand and a relatively new type of investment. Because the typical investor does not fully understand cryptocurrency, fraudsters will make wild claims about possible returns with invested money. The reality is that cryptocurrency trading is volatile and not well understood, even by financial experts. Many well-known investment agencies do not even deal with cryptocurrency, so be wary of anyone promising high crypto returns.
5. Social media and internet-related investment schemes
It is easy to get involved in social network groups and internet groups with like-minded individuals. Many fraudsters will use these mediums looking for those who want to make investments. Fraudsters will use social media and internet groups defined people who share similar backgrounds and personal information so they can make highly specialized pitches for investment scams.
How You Can Protect Yourself
The phrase “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is” rings true with investments. If you are being promised high returns with little to no risks, you are likely being scammed. Research any potential investment opportunities presented to you. Investors should determine whether investments and their sellers are registered. You would not go to an unlicensed doctor or dentist, so do not invest with any unregistered agents. If you think you have been scammed, you may need to consult with an experienced financial investment fraud lawyer about your case.
Financial Advisor David Miller Has Multiple Investment Fraud Claims Filed Against Him
Have you or someone you love lost money investing with financial advisor David Miller (CRD# 4648882)? Miller is currently a registered broker and investment advisor employed with Peachcap Securities, Inc. out of Atlanta, GA.
David Miller has had a lengthy career in the investment industry, dating back to 2003. However, he is also the subject of many pending and serious allegations. Miller has also settled many customer complaints against him. The complaints against Miller revolve around direct participation products (DPPs) like non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs), oil & gas programs, annuities, and equipment leasing programs.
What Is a CRD Number?
A Central Registration Depository (CRD) number is assigned to each investment brokerage firm and each individual broker. The number is contained in a database that holds information related to these individuals and firms and can be used to track their industry employment history and whether they have had any customer complaints against them.
Does David Miller Have a History of Customer Complaints?
David Miller has had many recent customer complaints that have been settled or are still pending. The complaints that are still pending include:
- A customer unhappy with investment performance and is requesting $1,200,000.
- A complaint alleging sales practice violations related to mismanagement of their account from October 2015 to October 2016. the amount requested is $43,541.
- A complaint that alleges sales practice from miss management of an account from October 2015 to early 2017. The amount requested is $27,936.14.
- Claimant alleging sales practice violations related to mismanagement of their account October 2015 early 2017. The amount requested is $49,551.
David Miller has also settled various claims related to customer complaints, including the following:
- $100,000 was awarded to a customer who is unhappy with the performance of his investment in 2018.
- $315,000 was awarded to a customer who was also unhappy with the performance of their investment.
- $50,000 was awarded to yet another customer unhappy with their investments made by David Miller.
These Complaints Revolve Around DDPS
Direct participation products (DDPs) such as non-traded REITs, equipment leasing products, oil and gas offerings, and other alternative investments almost never profit the investor. They are also usually associated with high fees and costs. Investments such as REITs have historically underperformed even low-return safe investments like US treasury bonds.
When brokers fail to disclose the risks and costs associated with these types of investments, they are engaging in misleading practices. Unfortunately, DDPs have very little oversight in the United States and brokers have been getting away with defrauding investors.
Where Has David Miller Previously Worked?
David Miller has previously worked for the following employers:
- INVESTACORP, INC. (CRD#:7684) based in Atlanta, GA
- AMERIPRISE FINANCIAL SERVICES, INC. (CRD#:6363) based in Atlanta, GA
- IDS LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY (CRD#:6321) based in Minneapolis, MN
What You Can Do Now
Meyer Wilson is a nationally recognized investment fraud law firm that handles cases of securities litigation and arbitration related to investment fraud and misconduct committed by brokers. We also handle cases against brokerage firms that fail to properly supervise their employees.
We are dedicated to helping those who have suffered from brokers who engage in fraudulent activity, forgery, misappropriation, and more. If you or a loved one have suffered financial loss and would like to discuss your rights moving forward, we are here to help. Call (614) 532-4576 or contact us online to speak confidentially with an attorney.
NY Broker Michael Fasciglione Faces FINRA Customer Complaints Over Investor Losses
New York-based Broker Michael Fasciglione (CRD# 1806486) has been the subject of a number of customer disputes over alleged losses suffered by investors and various acts of investment misconduct, according to his public BrokerCheck report. FINRA records show Fasciglione is currently registered with Aegis Capital Corp. in Bayside, NY, and was previously registered with National Securities Corporation from 2007 to 2017.
FINRA records show a total of 15 disclosure events, including two regulatory events and 13 customer disputes, three of which are currently pending. The pending disputes involve allegations filed by clients who allege misconduct concerning real estate and alternative investments. In addition to these three pending customer disputes, FINRA records show Fasciglione has settled eight customer disputes, totaling over $950,000 in settlements to customers.
Investor Claims: Did You Lose Money Due to Fraud or Misconduct?
If you believe you have suffered losses due to investments with Michael Fasciglione, our securities fraud and misconduct attorneys at Meyer Wilson are available to discuss your matter and potential legal claims .
Call (614) 532-4576 or contact us online to peak with an investment loss attorney. Meyer Wilson is an award-winning law firm representing wronged investors nationwide.
Did You Lose Money on Short Sales With Cantor Fitzgerald?
FINRA recently fined the NYC-based financial services firm Cantor Fitzgerald & Co. $2 million for failing to comply with the industry rule relating to “naked” short selling (the sale of securities that an investor does not own).
The Securities and Exchange Commission adopted Regulation SHO in 2005 to curb abuses in naked short selling practice. It established standards by which all broker dealers had to abide - the "locate" requirement and the "close-out" requirement. You can read more about the details of Regulation SHO on the SEC’s website.
In this action against Cantor Fitzgerald, FINRA reported that between January 2013 and December 2017, Cantor Fitzgerald’s written supervisory procedures and supervision system was not reasonably designed to achieve compliance with Regulation SHO. Cantor Fitzgerald’s alleged misconduct persisted over a 5-year period, and its failures to timely address red flags, rectify persistent supervisory deficiencies, and improves its systems had major consequences for investors. For example, according to FINRA, Cantor Fitzgerald:
- Failed to timely close-out nearly 5,000 failures-to-deliver; and
- Routed and / or executed thousands of short sale orders without first borrowing / arranging to borrow securities or issuing notice to pre-borrow to broker-dealers for whom it settled and cleared trades.
Brokerage firms have a duty to supervise, ensure their supervisory systems are reasonably designed to achieve compliance with industry rules, and address problems they discover in a timely manner. If you are an investor who has lost money while working with Cantor Fitzgerald, you can learn more about your rights and options for an investor fraud or misconduct claim from Meyer Wilson.
Our attorneys serve wronged investors nationwide. Call (614) 532-4576 or contact us online to speak with a lawyer.