Tag Archives: securities fraud

Seijas of Wells Fargo Crypto Ponzi

James Seijas, a former Wells Fargo broker who was alleged to be part of part of a crypto Ponzi scheme has now been barred by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority from associating with any FINRA member firms.  If you have suffered such losses, please call 303-300-5022 for a free and confidential consultation.

Wells FargoThe former Wells Fargo broker signed a FINRA letter of acceptance, waiver and consent on Oct. 22 in which he consented to the imposition of a bar against him by the industry self-regulating group. FINRA signed the letter on Tuesday and posted the letter on its website.

On March 24, 2020, Wells Fargo filed an amendment to Seijas’ regulatory form disclosing the details of his termination, “disclosing for the first time that Seijas had been named as a defendant in a lawsuit alleging that he had ‘misrepresented investments as part of a Ponzi scheme’.

FINRA, the regulator overseeing securities brokerages, investigated and brought suit, but Seija failed to defend the charges against him.  On Sept. 29, 2021, in connection with its investigation concerning the termination description filed by Wells Fargo, FINRA sent a request to Seijas for on-the-record testimony, according to FINRA.  Seijas acknowledged that he received FINRA’s request for documents as part of the investigation and would not appear or cooperate at any time.

David Wells of Fifth Third

David Wells of Fifth Third in the Chicago area has surrendered his license after failing to comply with a regulatory investigation into his actions.  If you believe you have suffered losses due to the misdeeds of Wells please call 303-300-5022.  Initial consultation is free and confidential.  We believe his former employers may be responsible.

investingstockphoto 1In June of 2021, Wells resigned from First Third.  This was after admitting that he misappropriated funds from the accounts of three clients.  A brokerage is required to file a Form U5 upon a broker’s employment termination.  This form, filed with the regulators, identifies the circumstances surrounding the termination.  Upon the receipt of the Wells U5, the regulator FINRA began an investigation.  FINRA, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, acts under the oversight of the SEC.   This regulator is charged with the regulation of securities brokerages.  Brokers are required to cooperate with FINRA investigations.

Wells chose to not cooperate with the investigation and was barred from the securities industry as a result.  A regulatory settlement agreement identifies that Wells consented to this action.

Prior to his employ with Fifth Third Securities, Wells was a broker of Merrill Lynch.  Wells is relatively young with only four years of experience at the time of the action.  Brokerage firms generally are responsible for training and supervising such young attorneys to guard against negligence and misdeeds.

John Henry Swon IV

If you were an investor with John Henry Swon IV and suspect irregularities in your portfolio please call 303-300-5022.   Consultations are free and confidential.

Swon was previously a broker with Royal Alliance and Focus Financial.  In July 2021 the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) the regulator, under the oversight of the SEC, banned Swon from the securities industry.  Swon consented to the underlying allegation that he misappropriated funds from the account of an investor.

The settlement was entered into after Swon refused to produce documents in defense of his actions.  The ban prevents Swon from ever working in the securities industry in the future.

In June 2021, the employers of Swon, Royal Alliance and Focus, each terminated Swon for inappropriate outside business activity.  Brokers are required to disclose all outside business activity to their brokerage firms.  This allows the brokerage firms to supervise those outside business activities.  The violation of this requirement is often referred to as “selling away.”

The “selling away” rule is very important.  The trappings of being affiliated with a brokerage firm gives legitimacy to the investments that the broker sells.  Often brokers will use this to their advantage and sell investments that are not approved by their brokerage.  The brokers will sell fake investments or unstable investments where they are paid high commissions but no brokerage firm has investigated the financials.  Many Ponzi-type scams start with a licensed securities broker “selling away” the investment to those believing the investment had been approved by a brokerage.

 

Broker Steven Schisler Allegations

Steven Douglas Schisler, formerly a securities broker with IFS and Sterne Agee, is the subject of investment fraud allegations.  If you are a client of Steven Schisler please call 303-300-5022 for a free and confidential consultation with a private attorney.

FINRA, the regulator overseeing securities brokerages, alleges that from April 2009 to October 2020, Steven D. Schisler committed nine separate violations of FINRA and NASD rules as a result of his dealings with two sets of retired customers and his member firm.

Specifically, he is alleged to have committed the following:

(1) made an unsuitable recommendation to two elderly, married customers;

(2) participated, without the approval of his firm, in a private securities transaction with those customers;

(3) willfully failed to timely amend his Uniform Application for Securities Industry Registration or Transfer (Form U4) to disclose a civil complaint and arbitration filed by one of the elderly customers, as well as other reportable events;

(4) entered into a settlement agreement with the customer that contained a prohibited condition — namely, that she would support his request for expungement;

(5) lied under oath at the expungement hearing;

(6) lied during on-the-record testimony to FINRA’s Department of Enforcement;

(7) engaged in a long pattern of unethical business conduct towards another retired customer from whom Schisler solicited a personal loan that he failed to repay for over six and a half years after maturity;

(8) made a false statement on a firm compliance questionnaire; and (9) caused his fn-m to fail to preserve books and records by using outside, unmonitored email accounts to conduct securities business.

Zach Avery Fraud Recovery

You may be entitled to recovery if you were a fraud victim of Zach Avery, aka Zachary J. Horwitz.  Call 303-300-5022 for a free and confidential consultation.

Avery is a small-time actor and was arrested Tuesday April 6 in Los Angeles for running a massive Ponzi scheme.  This is a fraud that defrauded investors out of $227 million.  He did this by touting fictitious film licensing deals with HBO, Netflix and other platforms.

Investors may have recourse to recover Ponzi losses.

The actor sent investors bottles of Johnny Walker Blue Label whisky with the his company’s falsified financials highlighted a “library” of 52 films his company, 1inMM Capital, distributed in Africa, Australia, New Zealand and South America.

Avery ran the Ponzi through City National Bank.   We are currently investigating liability of this bank for its involvement in the laundering of the funds received by Horwitz.  Investors who themselves had accounts or other business relationships with City National Bank would have relatively stronger claims for recovery.

According to the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, Horwitz used money from his personal City National Bank account for lavish personal spending, including, but not limited to, extravagant trips to Las Vegas, flights on chartered jets, payments for high-end automobiles, a subscription service for luxury watches, and the previously described purchase of his multi-million-dollar home.

 

Fraud of Keith Ashley

Parkland Securities adviser, Keith Ashley, 48, is accused of incapacitating and murdering an investor associated with Ashley’s Ponzi-type fraud.  Authorities arrested Ashley on November 4, 2020, on wire fraud charges.  These charges that stem from an FBI investigation, according to a statement by the Carrollton Police Department. Carrollton is a suburb north of Dallas.

If you believe you have been defrauded by Ashley call 303-300-5022.

The victim, James “Jim” Seegan, 62, an investor of Ashley’s.  He was found dead of a gunshot wound to the head by his wife when she returned to their home on the evening of Feb. 19, 2020. Next to Seegan was a typed suicide note.

Over the course of a nine-month investigation, detectives found evidence that Ashley incapacitated, then murdered his investor to gain control of Seegan’s finances.

“Ashley was a friend and financial adviser of Seegan’s who would visit the Seegan home periodically,” according to the police. “During the course of the investigation, detectives also identified several other victims of a Ponzi scheme Ashley orchestrated.”

FBI

The FBI has take Ashley into custody concerning potential wire fraud.

The fraud occurred while Ashley was a registered representative, a securities broker, of Parkland Securities.  Parkland, formerly known as Sammons Securities, terminated him on October 27, 2020.  The reason for the termination was “undisclosed outside business activity.”

Brokers are required to identify all outside business activity to their brokerage firms.  Outside business activity of a broker is an area of significant concern.  Brokers often use their status as a broker to engender trust of the investing public.  This trust leads the investors to believe the investment opportunity offered by the broker to be legitimate.

There are very few reasons for a broker to not disclose outside business activities to his brokerage.  Failing to disclose outside business activities allows a broker to perpetuate Ponzi-type frauds.  The firm is unable to conduct due diligence to prevent the sale of investments with weak financials or that have no legitimate business operations.

A brokerage firm is still required to monitor for such activities though the activities may be undisclosed.  Audits and other reasonable measures are required to identify such activities.  A firm cannot sit content with a broker’s representation of not engaging in outside business activities.

Victims of the Ashley securities fraud should call 303-300-5022 for a free and confidential consultation.

Attention Dean Grant Investors

If you are an investors of Dean Harrison Grant, formerly of M Holdings and NY Life, please call 303-300-5022 for a confidential and free consultation with an attorney.  Grant is the found and owner of GFG Strategic Advisors.

Authorities in Georgia have issued warrants for arrest for Grant.  He has been charged with the following:  1) insurance fraud; 2) forgery; 3) theft by a fiduciary; and 4) trafficking of an elder person.

Grant duped victims out of more than $1.3 million.  After arraignment, he was released on bail of $750,000 from Baldwin County Law Enforcement Center.  He currently lives in Fulton County, Georgia, but previously resided in Milledgeville, which is also the location of GFG Strategic Advisors.

About three years ago, he moved to a home in Roswell with an appraised property value of nearly $2 million, according to Fulton County records.

Investors have recourse when investment professionals turn bad.

Investors have recourse when investment professionals turn bad.

This warrant follows grants extended history of financial problems.   Grant was the subject of tax liens in October 2017, October 2018, and December 2018.  These financial issues were required to be disclosed to warn potential investors, but were not.

Regulators brought charges against Grant in February 2019.  has not contested the regulatory charges.  Failing to contest the charges, Grant ultimately agreed to a lifetime ban from the securities industry.

Georgia insurance Commissioner is urging investors with insurance products from Grant to verify the validity of their account or coverage.

 

DC Solar Ponzi – Loss Recovery

DC Solar is accused of operating a large Ponzi-type scheme concerning  a number of tax equity investment funds from 2015-2018.  The company, whose products include solar generators as well as light towers that can be used at sports events, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in February 2019 in Reno, Nevada.  This Ponzi scheme, as with most Ponzi schemes, is about a failure of investigation as much as the underlying fraud.

In a February 8, 2019 affidavit related to those bankruptcy proceedings, an FBI agent said the manner in which the Benecia, California-based company appeared to have operated reflected “evidence of a Ponzi-type investment fraud scheme.”

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission accused DC Solar’s owners by name of engaging in a Ponzi scheme, according to a separate court filing.

As late as December 20, 2018, DC Solar had been seen in the business media as an “Energy Powerhouse.”  The company was well known and sponsored a NASCAR team.  Those fortunes reversed quickly.

Sufficient investigation by advisors would have revealed insufficient lease revenue and that the funds coming in to compensate the lack of lease revenue was simply investor money.  As such, payments of profits was simply earlier investors receiving the investment funds of newer investors.  Detecting such arrangements is the charge of brokers, advisors and their firms as part of their due diligence obligations.

Civil action has been commenced against the property of DC Solar, which is considered the defendant in the case. Because it is a civil action, no criminal charges need be placed against the property’s owner, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

However, 87 defendant items are traceable to an investment fraud and money laundering scheme run by companies described in other court documents as those associated with DC Solar.

The defendant properties listed are $62,546,110.43 in multiple domestic and foreign bank accounts; $1,944,091.07 in cash seized at the Carpoffs’ Martinez home and Benicia offices; an estimated $500,000 worth of jewelry and other personal items; and a $782,949 money transfer for that luxury box at the Raiders NFL football team’s future stadium in Las Vegas, Nev.

Most of the bank accounts had been opened with China Bank and Trust, which is based in Taiwan with multiple international subsidiaries, according to its website. Other accounts were opened with E-trade, J.P. Morgan, BBVA Compass and Bank of America, the attorneys wrote.

Once of the largest victims is Berkshire Hathaway.  Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc on Wednesday said a $377 million charge it incurred recently was tied to a solar generation company that U.S. authorities have linked to fraud.

 

Attention Motty Mizrahi Investors

The SEC has halted an ongoing fraud perpetrated by Motty Mizrahi and targeting members of the Los Angeles Jewish community.  If you are a victim, call 303-300-5022 to speak to a private attorney about your rights.

FBIThe SEC filed an emergency action in federal court against Mizrahi and MBIG Company, his sole proprietorship, alleging that, since June 2012, they defrauded at least 15 investment advisory clients out of more than $3 million.

According to the SEC’s complaint, Mizrahi falsely claimed that MBIG used sophisticated trading strategies to generate “guaranteed” investment returns of between 2-3% per month risk-free, clients would not lose their money, and could withdraw their funds at any time.

Unbeknownst to his investors, however, MBIG had no bank or brokerage account of its own – rather, clients unwittingly sent money to Mizrahi’s personal bank account. Mizrahi used the money to fund his personal brokerage account, in which he engaged in high-risk options trading producing losses of more than $2.2 million, and to pay personal expenses. The SEC alleges that Mizrahi covered up his fraud by issuing MBIG’s clients fabricated account statements, showing positive account balances and profits from trading. When clients demanded proof of MBIG’s securities holdings, Mizrahi showed them brokerage statements reflecting a multi-million dollar balance for a fictitious MBIG brokerage account.

On March 27, 2019, the Honorable Judge Percy Anderson of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California granted emergency relief, including a temporary restraining order against the defendants and an order freezing their assets.

In a parallel action, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California announced on March 29, 2019 it filed wire fraud charges against Motty Mizrahi and another individual.

Ami Forte Investigation

If you suffered losses with Ami Forte, please call 303-300-5022 for a free and confidential consultation.  Jeffrey Pederson, PC handles claims against securities brokerages nationwide for unsuitable securities and unauthorized trading violations.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) announced on October 3, 2018 that it was widening the investigation of Ami Forte.  FINRA is the national regulatory agency that oversees securities brokerages.  It does so with the oversight of the SEC.

The October 3 notice advises Forte that the regulator will include additional potential violations of rules tied to conflicts of interest and fraud. Other violations included in the October 3 notice relates to rules tied to suitability, municipal securities advisory activities and books and records.

Forte, once Morgan Stanley’s most celebrated and prominent financial advisor with $2 billion in assets under management, lost her job at Morgan Stanley when an FINRA arbitration panel entered a substantial judgment against her.  The panel ordered her, her branch manager and Morgan Stanley to pay $34 million to the estate of Home Shopping Network co-founder Roy Speer in 2016. Lynnda Speer, Roy Speer’s widow, argued that the estate had been harmed by unauthorized trading, churning and elder abuse.

The initial investigation began in January 2018.  FINRA had made a preliminary determination concerning violations of multiple FINRA rules.  These rules concerning inappropriate exercises of discretion in an account and inappropriate recommendation of direct participation investments.

Forte had recently begun a career resurrection of sorts. In March 2018, Pinnacle Investments announced Forte as its chief business development officer.

This was short-lived.  BrokerCheck records indicate that the employment with Pinnacle ended Oct. 17,

Jeffrey Pederson has represented hundreds of investors over the past 15 years in FINRA arbitrations nationwide.  Time limitations may exist.  Investors suspecting wrongdoing should call at their earliest convenience