If you invested in UDF, you have rights and should call 1-866-817-0201 for a free consultation with a lawyer.
The FBI on Thursday, February 18, 2016 raided the Grapevine, TX, in suburban Dallas, offices of large real estate investment trust, United Development Funding IV (“UDF”). Allegations have circulated that investors have suffered losses at UDF as the result of Ponzi activity. Shares of UDF on that day toppled 54% before trading was stopped.
As of October 16, 2016, United Development Funding IV (“UDF IV” or the “Trust”) released more bad news. It announced in a press release that it received a written notification letter from NASDAQ indicating that the Nasdaq Hearings Panel (“Panel”) had determined to delist the shares of UDF iV from Nasdaq. The Trust has not filed its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2015 (the “2015 Form 10-K”) and its Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q for the quarters ended March 31 and June 30, 2016 (the “2016 Forms 10-Q” and collectively with the 2015 Form 10-K, the “Reports”) by October 17, 2016, the deadline by which the Trust was to file all Reports in order to regain compliance with Nasdaq Listing Rule 5250(c)(1). This despite repeated assurances by the Trust to its investors that it would file such documents.
A disproportionate number of investors come from a small number of independent brokerages. This could mean that the sale of the investment was influenced by inappropriate means, such as heightened commissions. Many of the recommendations were also unsuitable, a fraudulent activity of recommending a security when the security is in contradiction to the wants and needs of the investor.
The brokerage firms we believe sold
Accordingly, the trade halt that has been in place since February 2016 will be converted to a trading suspension effective at the open of business on October 19, 2016. While this suspension will occur at the open of business on October 19, 2016, the Trust currently plans to appeal the Panel’s determination to delist the Trust’s shares, although no assurance can be given regarding whether the Panel will grant the appeal or whether the appeal will ultimately be successful in preventing the delisting of the Trust’s shares. As stated in the notification letter from Nasdaq, following the suspension of trading of the Trust’s shares on Nasdaq, the Trust’s shares may trade on the over-the-counter market.
On October 13, 2016, the Trust informed Nasdaq that it would be unable to meet the previously granted extended deadline of October 17, 2016 for filing the 2015 Form 10-K and the 2016 Forms 10-Q, as a result of the Trust’s auditors requiring more time to complete the audit. In addition, the Trust informed Nasdaq that the Trust has received a “Wells Notice” from the staff (the “Staff”) of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (“SEC”) Division of Enforcement stating that the Staff has made a preliminary determination to recommend that the SEC file an enforcement action against the Trust alleging violations of certain provisions of the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
Certain individuals associated with the Trust and its advisor also received similar Wells Notices. A Wells notice is a notice from SEC regulators indicating that a preliminary investigation of UDF IV has recommended a likely enforcement action for violation of securities laws.
UDF has seen its stock price fall 81% in the months after a hedge fund alleged it was operating for years like a Ponzi scheme.
“The FBI is lawfully present and conducting law enforcement activity” at the UDF offices, said FBI spokeswoman Allison Mahan.
UDF has previously defended itself saying that the Ponzi charges are untrue and that it is the victim of individuals spreading rumors in hopes of shorting the REIT. Claiming in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that the REIT was the victim of this type of securities trading scheme known as a “short and distort.” However, UDF also disclosed in December that it had been the subject of a fact-finding investigation by the SEC since April 2014.
The FBI’s presence at UDF headquarters further decimated the company’s share price, which fell Thursday, February 18, to $3.20 per share after the FBI activity at company headquarters was reported. As recently as two months ago, UDF shares were trading at $17.20.
UDF IV had total assets of $684 million, the vast majority of which, $513.2 million, were notes receivable, according to its quarterly report from November. Notes receivable for related parties was $69.6 million, according to the report.
Earlier this month, hedge fund manager Kyle Bass revealed that he was shorting UDF. “UDF is using new investor money to pay existing investors,” he wrote. “UDF Management is misleading investors and is preying on ‘Mom and Pop’ retail investors.”
UDF investors should speak with an attorney to know their rights.
Sources for this report include Investmentnews.com and Wsj.com.