GBP Capital And Its Owners Facing An Onslaught Of Securities Fraud Charges From Regulators

Today, the SEC charged GPB Capital Holdings and several of its owners and affiliates with securities fraud, calling GPB a Ponzi scheme that raised over $1.7 billion from investors. The North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) also announced today that seven state securities agencies have filed regulatory actions against GPB and others for their involvement in the securities fraud scheme that has defrauded approximately 17,000 investors across the United States.

Criminal charges were also filed against GPB owners and affiliates David Gentile, Jeffry Schneider, and Jeffrey Lash in federal court in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

According to the filings, GPB Capital Holdings projected an aura of success and fixed 8% annualized distributions – but it was a complete illusion. In reality, GPB was riddled with irreconcilable conflicts of interest and used investor funds – rather than earnings from operations – to pay investors distributions. The regulators alleged that David Gentile, Jeffrey Schneider, and Ascendant Capital engaged in illegal self-dealing, and federal prosecutors have charged them with securities fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit the same.

Meyer Wilson has been following and reporting on GPB Capital Holdings since it came under regulatory inquiry in 2018 for potential securities laws violations. The investment fraud attorneys at Meyer Wilson currently represent numerous investors across the country who were victims of the GPB scheme.

If you invested in a GPB fund, you can call (800) 738-1960 or contact us online to speak confidentially with an attorney about your legal options.

Victor Dandridge Gets Jail Time for Bank and Wire Fraud

Former Thompson Davis & Company financial advisor Victor M. Dandridge III (CRD# 5884409) was convicted of bank and wire fraud earlier this year and permanently barred from working in the securities industry this month.

Victor Dandridge was barred by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for failure to provide documents relating to an investigation that he allegedly diverted customer funds into his own businesses. FINRA’s investigation stemmed from a federal criminal case against Dandridge involving allegations of wire fraud and bank fraud. Victor Dandridge pleaded guilty to federal charges and was sentenced to 84 months in prison and three years of supervised probation. He was also ordered to pay restitution to his victims, including $3.19 million to a client, $303,000 to a bank, and $118,000 to a fraternal organization.

The wire fraud and bank fraud charges appear to relate to customer claims of misappropriation of funds that occurred over nearly a decade from 2007 until 2016. Victor Dandridge was allegedly funneling money from his clients’ accounts into his own businesses during that time.

Victor Dandridge was registered with Thompson Davis & Co. Inc in Richmond, Va. from February 2012 until July 2016.

Previously, he was registered with T3 Trading Group LLC in New York from April 2011 until June 2011. Dandridge’s FINRA report also reveals that he was involved with a number of different outside businesses over the years, including a wholesale lighting business, Timberlake Lighting, and real estate companies.

Wire Fraud

Unfortunately, some brokers steal from their clients by committing investment fraud. If that fraud occurs over phone lines or involves electronic communications, it is considered wire fraud. In the Internet age, if fraud is occurring, it is very likely wire fraud.

Wire fraud occurs when:

Fraud occurs when financial advisors make unauthorized withdrawals from their clients’ accounts. Alternatively, brokers may ask clients to make checks payable to them or their own company.

Investors who are concerned that they may have been wire fraud victims should know that the financial firm they are working with is required to adequately supervise their brokers to ensure fraud is not occurring. If the firm fails to do so, they may be liable for client money stolen by the broker.

If you or a loved have had money stolen by a financial advisor, the experienced attorneys at Meyer Wilson may be able to help recover your losses.

Man and Sons Charged With Stealing $18 Million in Mail, Wire Fraud Scheme

A Tennessee man, Larry Bates, and his sons, Robert and Charles, are under investigation by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The men have been indicted for carrying on mail and postal fraud that defrauded more than 300 unsuspecting customers out of $18 million dollars.

Larry Bates was a former Tennessee legislator. He was also the CEO of First American Monetary Consultants, Inc. (FAMC) and of Information Radio Network, Inc. (IRN). FAMC was a financial company that bought, sold, and traded precious metals, primarily in gold and silver coins. IRN was a broadcast radio station that offered listeners advice and information on many topics including politics and world economy. Larry’s son Charles Bates served as executive vice president and news director at IRN and economist at FAMC, while Robert also acted as an economist at FAMC.

From May 2002 through October 2013, the Bates men allegedly advised their customers, primarily Christians and the elderly, to buy coins from FAMC. Because the customers thought that FAMC was a moral and upright company, they did as advised. The Bates men would use IRN as a source of marketing as well, urging listeners to invest in gold and silver coins from FAMC. They counseled their listeners to protect themselves from “Mystery Babylon” which they claimed would be a great economic recession.

Once the customers sent in money orders to purchase coins, or sent their old precious metals in to trade, they allegedly heard little more than false promises. Purportedly, the defendants would only fulfill half a customer’s orders, or neglect them all together. According to the indictment, when customers asked about their purchases, they would receive either false promises or radio silence. It is supposed that the Bates used the money and metals to fund their lifestyles and their two companies.

It is alleged that the fraud was targeted to more than just Tennessee. Some of the customers that were allegedly defrauded were in Texas, Alabama, Kansas, Florida, and many more. The Bates are charged with mail and wire fraud and conspiracy to commit mail fraud. If they are convicted, they can face up to 20 years’ imprisonment along with up to $1 million dollars for each count.

At Meyer Wilson, we believe that you should not be punished for putting your faith and trust in the wrong people. If you or someone you know is a supposed victim of an investment scheme, give us a call today! We can help you try to recover the money you lost.

Lee Michael Harrison Indicted on Three Counts of Wire Fraud

Lee Michael Harrison of Oklahoma City was indicted on June 17, 2015 with three counts of wire fraud. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, between 2010 and 2011, Harrison was in the process of establishing various restaurants and clubs in North Carolina and pitching the idea of a reality show to Food Network.

Harrison allegedly made false statements to investors, telling them they would be investing in a technology called “Capture.” The indictment also alleges that Harrison claimed, falsely, that a prominent New York investor had purchased the Capture technology for more than $6 billion. Through these allegedly false representations, the indictment claims, Harrison obtained $20,000 from two investors.

If Harrison is convicted, he faces up to 60 years imprisonment and $750,000 in fines. Indictments are accusations, and Harrison is innocent of these charges until andunless guilt is proven.

Harrison is not listed as a registered broker with FINRA. Records also indicate that Harrison was convicted on two counts of obtaining money by false pretenses back in 1999.

Even the most experienced investors can be blindsided by fraud or misconduct. Before you invest, make sure you research the broker or person presenting the investment opportunity. If you believe that you have lost money through investment fraud or misconduct, we invite you to contact a securities fraud attorney at Meyer Wilson today for a

Lee Michael Harrison of Oklahoma City was indicted on June 17, 2015 with three counts of wire fraud. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, between 2010 and 2011, Harrison was in the process of establishing various restaurants and clubs in North Carolina and pitching the idea of a reality show to Food Network.

Harrison allegedly made false statements to investors, telling them they would be investing in a technology called “Capture.” The indictment also alleges that Harrison claimed, falsely, that a prominent New York investor had purchased the Capture technology for more than $6 billion. Through these allegedly false representations, the indictment claims, Harrison obtained $20,000 from two investors.

If Harrison is convicted, he faces up to60 years imprisonment and $750,000 in fines. Indictments are accusations, and Harrison is innocent of these charges until andunless guilt is proven.

Harrison is not listed as a registered broker with FINRA. Records also indicate that Harrison was convicted on two counts of obtaining money by false pretenses back in 1999.

Even the most experienced investors can be blindsided by fraud or misconduct. Before you invest, make sure you research the broker or person presenting the investment opportunity. If you believe that you have lost money through investment fraud or misconduct, we invite you to contact a securities fraud attorney at Meyer Wilson today for a free review of your case.

Pamela Hass Charged With 10 Counts of Wire Fraud, 11 Counts of Money Laundering

A U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin recently announced the unsealing of an indictment charging an investment advisor with 21 counts of wire fraud and money laundering. 

An investment advisor from Tomahawk, Wisconsin has been charged with 21 fraud-related counts. Last week, John W. Vaudreuil, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced the unsealing of the indictment against Hass that includes 11 counts of money laundering and 10 counts of wire fraud. Included in the indictment was a forfeiture allegation that seeks more than $460,831.27 in criminal proceeds.

About the Allegations

The indictment accuses Hass of running a fraud scheme involving internet pop-up advertisements. Allegedly, Hass made promises to investors that they would see returns from five to 20 percent on the pop-up ad investments. Hass also allegedly promised that, should the investments fail, she would personally give back the original cost of the investment plus seven percent interest.

According to the indictment, not only was there no pop-up ad investment opportunity, but Hass took all her investors’ money and used it to pay for her personal expenses. To cover up her scheme, the indictment accuses Hass of giving false reports to investors, claiming that their payouts were “coming soon” and even that they would receive a bonus as compensation for delays.

Hass is currently on house arrest awaiting her arraignment, which will take place on June 17. Hass faces up to 20 years’ imprisonment for each count if convicted. She also faces fines of $250,000 for each count of wire fraud and $500,000 for each count of money laundering.

David Williams Pleads Guilty to $4 Million Real Estate Investment Scam

Former President and CEO of Morgan Peabody, David Williams, recently pleaded guilty to wire fraud and tax evasion charges for his role in a nearly $4 million investment scheme involving about 60 investors. 

David Williams, the former president and CEO of California-based Morgan Peabody, Inc.recently pleaded guilty to three counts of wire fraud and two counts of tax evasion. From about June 2007 to April 2008, Williams admitted to running a real estate investment scheme that ultimately caused nearly $4 million in investor losses. At the time, Williams was a licensed stock broker.

In a plea agreement, Williams admitted to instructing about 60 people to invest in a securities fund that was created and managed by Williams – Sherwood Secured Investment Fund. Williams claimed that the fund would yield an annual nine percent return.

Without his investors’ knowledge or consent, Williams used most of his customers’ money for his own personal expenses, including his lease on a $6 million home. To conceal his scheme, Williams also failed to file tax returns with the IRS. He is scheduled for sentencing this September.

Investment scams like Williams’ can be difficult to detect. If you’ve invested your money and you notice one or more of the following red flags, we invite you to contact Meyer Wilson.

Common Investment Red Flags – 

Tell us what happened to you and we will provide you with a free case review so you can learn your legal rights and options!

Meyer Wilson Attorneys Investigate Allegations Involving Former David Lerner Broker Michael Thomas Lombardo

Stockbroker fraud lawyers at Meyer Wilson are currently looking into claims involving Michael T. Lombardo stealing money from clients and making unsuitable recommendations. 

Michael Thomas Lombardo (CRD# 4091665) was a broker at David Lerner Associates' Westport, Connecticut office from September 2002 until March 2014. In September 2014, he pled guilty to one count of wire fraud (United States v. Lombardo) and also admitted to defrauding more than 20 of his David Lerner clients, stealing more than $190,000 of their money for his own use. In response, the SEC permanently disbarred Lombardo from practicing securities (Read the SEC order against Lombardo).

According to FINRA,

“Lombardo consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that he misappropriated funds from a customer of his member firm by forging the customer’s signature on an IRA distribution request form. The findings stated that Lombardo took delivery of the IRA disbursement check, forged the customer’s signature on the check and converted the funds to his own use. Lombardo also converted additional funds from other firm customers.”

It also revealed some other disclosure events in Lombardo's history as a registered broker. In December 2012, while working for David Lerner, Lombardo was accused of unsuitability involving real estate securities. The case was settled in September 2013 for $35,000. In 2008, also while Lombardo was at David Lerner, he was accused of mutual fund misrepresentation and unsuitability.

Was Michael Thomas Lombardo your broker? If you lost a substantial amount of money on your investments due to Lombardo's alleged misconduct, contact an investment fraud attorney at Meyer Wilson to evaluate any potential claims. Our firm helps defrauded investors recover their losses, and last year alone, we were able to recover more than $29 million for our clients in investor claims and class actions. Contact us today for a free review of your case.

Former Edward Jones Advisor Jason W. Cox Accused of Stealing Money From Disabled Woman

Jason Wade Cox (CRD# 5792635), a former Edward Jones advisor in Columbus, has been accused by federal prosecutors of taking money from a disabled woman. A federal criminal complaint accuses Cox of pocketing at least $160,000 from a fund that he had set up for his client's developmentally disabled daughter.

Cox's client wanted to set aside a fund for his developmentally impaired adult daughter before he died so that she could live a comfortable life. He trusted Cox to manage the account for his daughter, but according to allegations, Cox took the money for himself instead.

Cox allegedly withdrew a series of small amounts over the short period of January to March 2014, hoping to avoid bank reporting requirements that apply to larger withdrawals. Bank officials became suspicious about the account, specifically the multiple checks written to Cox, at which point the feds became involved.

Cox was indicted by a federal grand jury for structuring cash withdrawal transactions, mail fraud, and wire fraud. Federal prosecutors also said that in a separate instance, from 2012 to 2013, Cox used similar methods to defraud another investor.

The Columbus investment fraud lawyers at Meyer Wilson are investigating the Jason Cox case. Individuals who lost money through broker fraud and misconduct, like Cox is accused of, may be able to recover their losses. Meyer Wilson is a Columbus-based investment fraud law firm. Last year alone, we were able to recover more than $29 million for our clients.

If Jason Cox was your advisor and you lost money, contact us today for a free evaluation of your case.

UPDATE:

Jason Wade Cox's indictment is scheduled for Thursday, January 29 at 1:30pm at The Joseph P. Kinneary U.S. Courthouse in Columbus, Ohio. For more information, view the notice on the indictment.

Ponzi Scheme Pastor Gets 10 Years in Prison

A Los Angeles area pastor was sentenced to a term of 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to stealing more than $7 million from 82 people.

Luis Alonso Serna is a former pastor of Zion Living Word Christian Center in Chatsworth, California who recently pleaded guilty to running a nearly $7 million Ponzi scheme. According to court documents, Serna preyed on people who were far from having the financial means to invest. Serna used a common investment fraud tactic: he used his position of trust as a pastor to get his victims to trust him.

He operated his Ponzi scheme through an investment company he named "Architects of the Future Investments" which dealt in foreign currency, and promised his clients high returns. Serna claimed in his plea agreement that he used most of the money from investors to pay back people who had paid him previously.

According to prosecutors, Serna's victims didn't just lose money. The losses they suffered were far greater than that, causing the loss of their homes and the inability to pay for their children's education.

To avoid falling victim to a Ponzi scheme, you must be vigilant. Consider the common warning signs of Ponzi schemes before you invest –

If you lost money through what you suspect to be a Ponzi scheme, contact a securities fraud attorney at Meyer Wilson today. In 2014 alone, our law firm recovered more than $29 million for clients. We know how to secure results for our clients, so contact us today for a free consultation if you suspect fraud or misconduct.

Ismail Elmas Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud

Last Tuesday, October 21, former broker Ismail Elmas pleaded guilty to wire fraud in U.S. District Court in Alexandria. At the plea hearing, he admitted to stealing more than $1 million from investors, many of whom were senior citizens and widows.

Investors entrusted their money to Elmas from 2012 through August 2014. During this time, Elmas admittedly misappropriated their money into his own account, which he named "I.E. Financial Solutions." Investors were not aware that this I.E. Financial Solutions was Elmas' own personal bank account. In some cases, Elmas did not attempt to explain the account to investors. In other cases, he described it as an "investment vehicle."

Because Elmas pleaded guilty to wire fraud, he now faces up to 20 years in prison. His sentencing is set to take place on January 16 of next year.

Other facts about this case –

Meyer Wilson has already begun representing victims of Elmas' investment fraud. If you or someone you know invested their money with former broker Ismail Elmas and lost a substantial amount of money, contact an investment fraud attorney at our firm today for a free consultation.