The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating two Marin County, California investment companies following the unexpected death of their owner, Ken Casey, in May. The investigation into Professional Financial Investors, Inc. (“PFI”) and Professional Investors Securities Fund, Inc. (“PISF”) is expected to take until at least late August and the companies have suspended all principal and interest payments to their noteholders and halted all new debt financing and investments while the investigation is pending.
According to a statement from attorney Eric Sternberger, the companies voluntarily approached the SEC after a review of their business following Mr. Casey’s death and the investigation does not mean the SEC has concluded any violations of law have occurred.
Mr. Casey, however, does have a criminal history of fraud and tax evasion, including guilty pleas and an 18-month prison sentence in 1997 for tax evasion, bank fraud, and filing false income tax returns.
Casey and the investment companies have previously come under scrutiny over questionable political campaign contributions. According to an article published in the Marin Independent Journal, PISF made a $300,000 contribution to a political action committee aimed at repealing California’s state gas tax, but the contribution was actually used by Travis Allen to promote his own campaign for governor.
The Journal also noted in an article from October 2019 a contribution of $10,000 from PISF to a political action committee known as Citizens for a Sustainable Economy and in December 2018 that PISF made a $25,000 interest-free loan, with no repayment deadline, to a Marin County district attorney candidate.
Professional Financial Investors, Inc., according to its since-shuttered website, claimed to manage nearly 600,000 square feet of commercial warehouse and office space and close to 1,000 apartments in Marin and Sonoma counties.
The SEC investigation has, thus far, raised more questions and concerns for the companies’ roughly 1,000 investors than it has answered. It is unclear that the long-term effect will be on the noteholders’ payments and underlying investments. In the short-term, investors are missing out on payments that they rely on for everything from daily needs to medical expenses.
If you are an investor in Professional Financial Investors, Inc. and/or Professional Investors Securities Fund, Inc., you may have a right to recover any losses you have suffered as a result of wrongdoing by the companies’ ownership. For more information, please call the Frankowski Firm at 888.741.7503 or fill out this contact form.