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Jun 21, 2017

Pension Advance Scams Target the Elderly

By |June 21st, 2017|Fraud|

Pensions are the primary means of support for about one-half of Americans of retirement age or older. This income—set aside throughout the course of a lifetime of employment and work—is often supplemented by social security, or other retirement investing. However, America’s seniors are not usually living in the lap of luxury, bringing in an average [...]

Jun 14, 2017

Ponzi Scams Persist: SEC Crackdown Continues with Recent Judgment

By |June 14th, 2017|Fraud|

Beyond sheer greed and malevolence, the most common catalyst for Ponzi schemes is to cover up other serious losses. This was the situation for Francisco Illarramendi, a former hedge fund manager in Connecticut, who ultimately spent five years raising over $30 million in illicit funds to cover an initial $5 million shortfall.  But such is [...]

Jun 7, 2017

Investment Fraud from the Pulpit?

By |June 7th, 2017|Fraud|

Religion rarely comes into account when making investing decisions. However, in the case of one church in California, the mixture led to fraud, losses, and a lawsuit. The church mandated participation in the courses: victims claim they were pressured by their religious leaders into taking investing direction from Paul Ricky Mata, a member since the [...]

May 31, 2017

Bitcoin: New Currency, New Investment Scams

By |May 31st, 2017|Fraud|

In early March of 2017, the value of one Bitcoin surpassed the value of one ounce of gold for the first time. Proponents saw this development as validation of the digital currency’s endurance; but other, more baleful watchers saw instead an opportunity to create new scams and defraud unwary investors. Why is Bitcoin so exciting [...]

May 24, 2017

When Your Promissory Note is Void of Promise

By |May 24th, 2017|Fraud|

Promissory notes are often used by companies to raise revenue. Investors loan money to the company in exchange for a promise to repay the principal, plus interest, on a specific date. While these forms of debt can sometimes be legitimate, there is a substantial enterprise of fraudulent notes being marketed to individual investors. With hundreds [...]

May 18, 2017

Barclays To Pay $97M To Customers

By |May 18th, 2017|SEC|

Barclays Capital has reached a settlement with the SEC to refund over $97 million in advisory and mutual fund fees to customers the firm allegedly overcharged. The firm also agreed to set up a fund to repay advisory fees to the overcharged customers, the SEC said. This fund will consist of $49.8 million in disgorgement [...]

May 17, 2017

Kevin Graetz Suspended By FINRA

By |May 17th, 2017|FINRA News|

Kevin Graetz has settled a FINRA complaint accusing him of failing to report federal and state tax liens against him amounting to over $1 million over nearly seven years. FINRA's Form U4 mandates registered representatives to disclose whether there are any unsatisfied judgments or liens against them. In amendments, Graetz filed to his form in [...]

May 17, 2017

Is it Acceptable to Sue Your Broker for Losses? 

By |May 17th, 2017|Broker Negligence|

Not every investment loss is the fault of your broker. Even the most upstanding, capable broker can put you in an unsuccessful investment. However, in some situations, investors lose substantial amounts of money due to the negligent or fraudulent acts of a broker. While you may be tempted to simply cut your losses and move [...]

May 12, 2017

LPL May Pay $8M In New Hampshire REIT Suit

By |May 12th, 2017|Legal Matters|

LPL Financial may ultimately repay $8 million to customers according to a settlement it reached with the New Hampshire Bureau of Securities regarding sales of non-traded real estate investment trusts. New Hampshire and LPL agreed to the settlement in December 2015. The case was initiated in reaction to a complaint from an elderly New Hampshire [...]

May 3, 2017

Discretionary versus Non-Discretionary Investment Accounts

By |May 3rd, 2017|Suitability|

Many investors wonder about the differences between discretionary and non-discretionary investment accounts or do not even realize that there are two types of such accounts that function quite differently from each other. Simply put, a discretionary account is one in which a broker makes trades, buying or selling securities, in an investor's account without the [...]

May 3, 2017

Securities Fraud: What Is Insider Trading, Exactly?

By |May 3rd, 2017|Fraud|

Since 2014, the news has been telling the story of Thomas C. Davis, the former chairman of Dean Foods, a professional gambler named Billy Walters and golf legend Phil Mickelson. According to the Justice Department and the SEC, these three men have been involved in an insider trading scam that netted Walters approximately $40 million [...]

Apr 26, 2017

Demitrios Hallas Accused By SEC Of Selling Unsuitable Investments

By |April 26th, 2017|SEC, Securities Act of 1933, Securities Law Violations|

The SEC accused former broker Demitrios Hallas with trading leveraged Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) and Exchange Traded Notes (ETNs) in clients' accounts and swindling $170,000 from one of his clients. The Commission claims he trade one hundred seventy-nine daily leveraged ETFs and ETNs in client accounts from September 2014 to October 2015, creating $128,000 in [...]

Apr 26, 2017

CFTC’s Advisory of Precious Metal Investment Fraud

By |April 26th, 2017|Fraud|

Precious metals, like gold and silver, are classified as commodities. The United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is the federal agency that regulates commodity markets. The agency has issued an advisory regarding the fraudulent activities surrounding precious metal investments. The advisory warns of “tricky promises of easy profits,” and provides potential investors with warning [...]

Apr 20, 2017

Adrienne Mennemeyer Wins $1.8M Against PNC For Wrongful Firing And Defamation

By |April 20th, 2017|Defamation, Securities Arbitration, Wrongful Termination|

Adrienne Mennemeyer won $1.8 million in an arbitration against PNC Investments over a dispute over her termination from the company. On April 18, a FINRA arbitration panel issued an award, ordering PNC to pay her $1.5 million in punitive damages and $300,000 in compensatory damages arsing from her termination in December of 2013. On her [...]

Apr 13, 2017

Robert Tricarico Sentenced To 3.5 Years In Prison For Client Theft

By |April 13th, 2017|FINRA, Fraud, SEC, Securities Law Violations|

Robert Tricarico, a former LPL broker, pleaded guilty to stealing $1.2 million from a client by a federal court in Hartford, Connecticut and was sentenced to forty-one (41) months in jail. The Court also ordered him to pay restitution. Tricarico started his career as a broker in 1992 and spent ten years with Merrill Lynch. [...]

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