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Articles Posted in Current Investigations

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Silver Law Group continues to investigate Perry Santillo Jr. (“Santillo”), founder and chief executive of High Point Wealth Management. According to a recent Investment News article, Santillo was barred by Maryland regulators for “dishonest and unethical trade practices,” that included selling unregistered securities by fraudulent means. Santillo allegedly solicited clients from an investment advisory business he acquired last year from its barred owner, Philip Rousseaux. Santillo faces almost $3.5 million in civil penalties and fines. Santillo acquired Everest Investment Advisors after its owner, Mr. Rousseaux, had his registration as an investment adviser revoked in March for deceptive securities sales practices. Mr. Rousseaux previously recruited clients through his popular infomercials featuring “The Money Guys.” Santillo, according to the order barring him, in November began soliciting former Everest clients through e-mails explaining how their transition would work in regards to their investments. He would then advise them to sell securities and transfer assets to a self-directed IRA. He also asked client to sell their annuities in face-to-face meetings. Then, Santillo would recommend the clients invest in unsecured promissory notes that were used to finance his own companies.

SWhat-Keeps-a-Ponzi-Scheme-Running-300x200antillo, Chris Parris and others are accused of running a massive Ponzi scheme and paying former stockbrokers and investment advisors to retire and send their clients to their companies.  Silver Law Group is assisting investors who were encouraged to liquidate retirement accounts and other investments to invest in the First Nationle Ponzi scheme.

Silver Law Group is representing investors in claims against their former advisors who recommended that their clients invest with Santillo, Chris Parris, Nationle or United RL.  Investors allege that their former advisors failed to inform them that their stockbrokers failed to tell them that they had received money for the recommendation or that their financial advisor had failed to conduct reasonable due diligence into Santillo and his partners.

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On June 19, 2018, the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) shut down a $102 million Ponzi scheme and charged five (5) individuals and three (3) businesses with various securities laws violations.

The massive Ponzi scheme’s alleged orchestrators were all formerly registered with FINRA and employed by FINRA-registered firms, according to the SEC complaint. The following individuals were named in the SEC’s complaint:

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Silver Law Group is investigating claims related to Barry Kornfeld and First Financial Tax Group for the sale of investment products issued by the Woodbridge Group of Companies as safe alternatives for income seeking retirees.

Barry Kornfeld (“Kornfeld”) is the owner of First Financial Tax Group in Boca Raton, FL and teaches Baby Boomer Retirement Courses at Florida Atlantic University. Kornfeld is alleged to have sold short-term mortgage notes issued by the Woodbridge Group of Companies (“Woodbridge”) to retirees seeking safe, conservative, income alternatives. Barry Kornfeld was barred in July 2010 by both the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) from acting as a broker or investment adviser or otherwise associating with firms that sell securities or provide investment advice to the public.

Woodbridge is currently the subject of a SEC probe for the possible fraudulent sale of securities to investors. Woodbridge filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy today citing costs of expansion, litigation, and a government fraud investigation as the reason. According to Woodbridge Wealth’s website, Woodbridge offers First Position Commercial Mortgages, Secondary Market Annuities and a Commercial Bridge Loan Fund. Woodbridge has reportedly raised approximately 1 billion dollars from investors around the country through agents such as Barry Kornfeld and First Financial Tax Group.

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Mack L. Miller

CRD#2822317

Silver Law Group is investigating New York, New York-based former Dawson James Securities Broker Mack L. Miller after multiple clients filed FINRA complaints alleging misrepresentation and excessive trading in client accounts.

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If you’re investing in an instrument other than traditional stocks, bonds, or cash, then you’re investing in an alternative. In the current low-interest rate environment, many retail investors are allocating a greater portion of their portfolio to alternatives in search of higher yield. It is also common for investors to believe that alternatives help contribute to a diversified portfolio and reduce volatility. Originally offered to institutional investors and sophisticated, high net worth individuals, alternatives come in many shapes and sizes. They include private placements, precious metals, managed futures, structured products, commodities, currency, and “alternative alternatives” – just to name a few.

Let’s start by differentiating these from more traditional investments. Because alternatives frequently claim to have a low correlation with market indices, performance frequently depends more on manager skill than on market returns. Fees are often opaque and layered, and leverage may be used to magnify returns. One should also note that these investments can be highly illiquid. Their complexity explains their popularity among sellers, as complex products are often designed in favor of the issuer by having multiple layers of fees. In 2010, for the top five U.S. brokerage firms, alternatives generated $18 billion in fee revenues (McKinsey & Company: The Mainstreaming of Alternative Investments).

According to Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) rules, broker-dealers have an obligation to provide their clients with adequate disclosures and follow suitability rules. The disclosures include such details as liquidity, leverage, associated fees, and conflicts of interest. With regard to suitability, broker-dealers must consider the investor’s age, risk tolerance, liquidity needs, financial and tax status, and other relevant characteristics (FINRA Rule 2111). Unfortunately, many broker-dealers have allocated a large portion of conservative investors’ portfolios to alternatives. When broker-dealers, enticed by high commissions, take advantage of retirement savers and elderly clients, investors may be entitled to compensation for their losses.

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