Tag Archives: Colorado Fraud

Attention Dennis Mehringer Investors

If you were an investor with Dennis Mehringer call 1-866-817-0201 for a free and confidential consultation with a private attorney.

On October 18, 2019, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) barred Mr. Mehringer from the securities industry when he failed to defend charges that he handled his investor accounts inappropriately.

Mehringer was previously named a defendant in a FINRA regulatory complaint, a legal action brought by the national regulatory body overseeing securities brokers, alleging that he made unsuitable recommendations that caused a customer to engage in excessively expensive short-term trading and intra-day switching of mutual fund Class A shares.   

“Unsuitable” recommendations are recommendations of securities transactions or purchase of strategies that are inconsistent with the risk tolerance or investment objectives of an investor.  They can also be when a broker makes trades with the objectives of increasing the broker’s commission.  That is what happens with short-trading of mutual funds.  The high commissions of mutual funds are repeatedly charged so that there is little to no chance for the investments to make a reasonable return.  This is sometimes referred to as churning.  

The FINRA complaint alleges that Mehringer repeatedly recommended, and caused the investor to engage in, short-term purchases and sales of 84 mutual fund Class A positions (involving the sale of shares within a year of purchasing them) in five of the customer’s accounts.

In 47 of the 84 purchase transactions, investors paid front-end sales loads ranging from four to five percent. All but 17 of these 84 mutual fund positions were held for less than six months, and approximately 35 of them were held for less than three months. Mehringer received $169,735 in commissions from the transactions. Mehringer recommended the short-term mutual fund trading and the intra-day mutual fund switching alleged above without reasonable grounds to believe that the recommendations were suitable for the investor.

Given the long-term nature of Class A mutual fund share investments, along with the costs and commissions incurred in connection with frequent trading and switching between the mutual funds and mutual fund families, Mehringer’s short-term trading was unsuitable for any customer. The complaint also alleges that Mehringer exercised discretion in the same customer’s accounts without obtaining the customer’s written authorization and his member firm’s approval to do so. 

The actions of Mehringer are currently the subject of eleven arbitration suits brought by his investors against either him or his former employers.

Attention Mediatrix Investors

The SEC on September 18, 2019 announced that it has filed an emergency action in federal court in Denver, Colorado and obtained an asset freeze against three individuals in connection with an alleged fraudulent, ongoing international trading program, Mediatrix Capital, that has placed at risk more than $125 million of investor funds.  Allegations include that Mediatrix, despite assertions that it has not lost investor money in five years, has been operating a Ponzi scam and inducing investors fraudulently.

Mediatrix is an investment manager and trading advisor.  It is not a hedge fund, but a manager of outside funds, and purports that its operations as being conducted in the Bahamas.

An action has been brought by the SEC in Colorado.  Colorado has jurisdiction over Mediatrix due to owner and CEO Michael Young’s home in the Denver, Colorado area.  Despite the fact that Mediatrix operates out of the Bahamas, American investors may have the opportunity to pursue losses in the federal or state court in Colorado.

According to the SEC’s complaint, beginning in March 2016, Mediatrix Capital Inc. and its three owners, Michael S. Young, Michael S. Stewart, and Bryant E. Sewall, induced investors to invest by falsely representing that their money would be invested using a highly profitable algorithmic trading strategy that had never experienced an unprofitable month and had returned more than 1,600 percent since inception. In truth, the complaint alleges, the defendants’ trading strategy consistently lost money-losing more than $18 million from its trading in 2018 alone. In addition to repeatedly misrepresenting the profitability of the trading, the complaint alleges defendants also misled investors by falsifying account statements and making Ponzi-like payments, all while misappropriating more than $35 million of investor money for defendants’ personal use, including to purchase luxury properties and vehicles.

The SEC’s complaint, filed in federal district court in Colorado on September 12, 2019 and unsealed today, charges all defendants with violating the antifraud provisions of Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder, and Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, as well as with violating the registration provisions of Section 5(a) and 5(c) of the Securities Act.

The SEC’s complaint also charges Mediatrix Capital, Young, Stewart, and Sewall with violations of the antifraud provisions of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. The SEC has also charged 20 relief defendants who allegedly received profits from the fraud.

The SEC’s continuing investigation is being conducted by Jeffrey D. Felder and Tracy W. Bowen of the SEC’s Denver Regional Office and supervised by Kimberly L. Frederick and Jason J. Burt. The litigation is being led by Stephen C. McKenna and Mark D. Williams and supervised by Gregory A. Kasper. The SEC appreciates the assistance of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the U.S. Marshals Service. The SEC also appreciates the assistance of the UK Financial Conduct Authority, the Czech National Bank, the New Zealand Financial Markets Authority, the Securities Commission of The Bahamas, the Central Bank of Armenia, and the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority.

Jeffrey Pederson is a licensed Colorado attorney.  If you have questions about Mediatrix or the ability to pursue recovery of losses in Colorado, please call 1-866-817-0201.