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Articles Posted in Elder Fraud

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The SEC has brought additional charges against a Long-Island, New York-based boiler room that was sued for defrauding elderly and unsophisticated investors. The latest charges allege that Christian Romandetti, CEO of First Choice Healthcare Solutions Inc., the boiler room, and four others have committed fraud within the company’s shares and have generated more than $3.3 million of illegal profits. The new charges also allege that the parties generated more than $560,000 in kickbacks for Romandetti.

The SEC’S statement alleges that Romandetti and the other parties lied to more than 100 victims in a scheme that inflated First Choice’s stock price from less than $1 per share to $3.40 per share. From September 2013 until June 2016, the parties used several accounts to disguise their trading, and engaged in fraudulent trading practices. Elite Stock Research, a boiler room run by one of the defendants, Anthony Vassallo, was hired to promote First Choice to investors.

The SEC originally charged Elite Stock Research with bilking victims out of more than $10 million through fraudulent sales tactics and lies about penny stocks. Seven of the 13 individuals have pleaded guilty to criminal charges brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York. The litigation against the 13 individuals is still continuing.

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Why-South-Florida-is-a-Target-for-Ponzi-Schemers-300x200A securities agent and former state legislator, Robert Kenneth Lindell, is found guilty on 15 counts of securities fraud, intentional evasion of income tax, and failure to pay Maine income tax, in what authorities call one of Maine’s worst cases of elder financial abuse. He defrauded two widows out of more than $3 million.

“Mr. Lindell was a trusted financial professional in Maine,” said Judith Shaw, the Maine securities administrator. “But more than that, he was like family to these women. He groomed them for years in order to perpetrate these crimes, preying on their trusting nature and vulnerabilities.” Continue reading

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Have-You-Invested-Money-with-William-“Billy”-Nelson-and-Lost-300x200Silver Law Group is investigating claims against brokers and financial advisors who committed misconduct in Boca Raton, Florida and the surrounding area.

Boca Raton is located in Palm Beach County, Florida on the east coast of the state. The city is located less than 50 miles away from Miami and less than 20 miles away from Silver Law Group offices. As of July 2015, Boca Raton’s estimated population is just over 93,000.

Boca Raton is home to the main campus of Florida Atlantic University, also known as FAU. Additionally, major supplier of office products and services Office Depot has its global headquarters in Boca Raton.

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Florida-Broker-Peter-Gouzos-Banned-by-FINRA-300x206Silver Law Group is investigating claims against brokers and financial advisors who committed securities misconduct in Tampa, Florida and the surrounding area.

Tampa is located in Hillsborough County, Florida. It is located on the west coast of Florida on the Tampa Bay near the Gulf of Mexico. As of July 2015, Tampa’s population is estimated to be 369,075. Tampa is part of the Tampa Bay Metropolitan area, which consists of St. Petersburg and Clearwater.

Tampa features numerous attractions such as the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the theme park Busch Gardens, the Florida Aquarium, and crystal blue gulf beaches.

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How to Report Elder Financial Fraud on elderfinancialfraudattorneys.comSilver Law Group is investigating claims against brokers and financial advisors who committed securities misconduct in The Villages, Florida and the surrounding area.

The Villages is located in Sumter County, Florida. According to FOX Business, The Villages is the fastest-growing city in America. The city, one of the fastest-growing retirement communities, also shares the same name as The Villages retirement community. It’s a Manhattan-sized city “with more golf carts than New York has taxis,” according to a Bloomberg report.

While the elder population and retirement communities have grown relatively crime-free, the senior population is not impervious to other financial threats. For aging seniors and retirees, elder financial fraud remains a potential problem.

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In September, we told you about Morgan Stanley brokers James Polese and 29-year-old Cornelius Peterson, who were found guilty of financial charges ranging from conspiracy to aggravated identity theft. They have both been sentenced in the case.

How to Report Elder Financial Fraud on elderfinancialfraudattorneys.comJames Polese has been sentenced to 60 months (five years) in prison after pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy, one count of investment adviser fraud and eight counts of bank fraud as well as a charge of aggravated identity theft. The government originally requested 75 months, and the federal guidelines indicate a minimum sentence of 87 months. Polese’s attorney argued for a shorter sentence of 40 months.

Polese was ordered to pay $462,000 in restitution plus a $30,000 fine. After his release from prison, he will be supervised for three years. He will be restricted from working in financial services, and prohibited from drinking alcohol beyond a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.10. The judge recognized Polese’s work towards rehabilitation, which included speaking with two ministers who offered letters of support.

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John William Cutshall (CRD #874352) is a registered broker and former registered investment advisor currently employed with Lombard Securities Incorporated (CRD #27954) of Woodsboro, MD. His previous employers include Morgan Stanley (CRD #149777), RBC Capital Markets, LLC (CRD #31194) and Ferris, Baker Watts, LLC (CRD #285), also of Frederick, MD. He has been in the industry since 1979.

Three Individuals Charged by the SEC for Defrauding Elderly Clients on elderfinancialfraudattorneys.comCutshall has four recent disclosures in his record. The most recent is a pending FINRA disciplinary complaint filed by their Department of Enforcement on 8/10/2018 (the full complaint is available here.) His actions are described in detail regarding the misappropriation of trusts that he was administering for three individuals. Between 2012 and 2014, Custshall abused his position for these trusts (for one elderly woman and a now-deceased married couple), converting and improperly using funds from the trusts.

The trust provided for the couple’s disabled daughter, who was in a residential facility for intellectually disabled individuals. When the daughter died in 2012, Cutshall used his position as a trustee to write 34 checks from the trust for a total of $400,000. These checks were deposited into his own bank account. Cutshall then presented an unwitnessed handwritten note that was allegedly written by the deceased husband, but not the wife. The note named Cutshall as a 50% beneficiary, defending his converting of funds from the trust. He took a total of $463,000, which was more than he was entitled to, assuming the note was genuine. Cutshall never disclosed this note until 2013, and failed to disclose to two firms that he was a client’s trustee.

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Back in October, we told you about Kyusun Kim (CRD #2864085), a broker who was barred by FINRA after it was discovered he approached individuals who were near or at retirement age, and urged them to liquidate their pensions to invest in “alternative investments.” These investments included risky, non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs.)

Are-or-Were-Unsuitable-Non-Traded-REITs-in-Your-Portfolio-300x224-300x224BrokerCheck now reports that Sandlapper Wealth Management, LLC has discharged him from their employment as of 8/31/2018 after he was barred by FINRA.

The allegations against Kim included wrongful conduct, breaches of fiduciary duty, contract and conduct, violations of securities laws, fraud, financial elder abuse, negligent misrepresentation, inappropriate investments and unsuitable recommendations, as well as one allegation of forged signatures.

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Rita Marie Dulya (CRD #2050796) is a former registered broker whose last employer was Kovack Securities Inc. (CRD #44848) of Port St. Lucie, FL.  Her previous employers include Pro-Integrity Securities, Inc. (CRD #44707) and Sunpoint Securities, Inc. (CRD #25442), both of Longview, TX, and Great Western Financial Securities Corporation (CRD #14229) of Northridge, CA. She began in the industry in 1990.

How to Report Elder Financial Fraud on elderfinancialfraudattorneys.comFINRA suspended Dulya on 8/14/2018, after she failed to respond to two requests for information. She was officially barred indefinitely and in all capacities effective 11/19/2018.

Criminal charges were filed against Dulya on 2/16/2018, and are currently pending. She is charged with:

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Silver Law Group filed a claim against Arete Wealth Management, LLC alleging Arete’s broker recommended numerous unsuitable non-traded REITs and leveraged ETNs and ETFs to our elderly client.

Are-or-Were-Unsuitable-Non-Traded-REITs-in-Your-Portfolio-300x224According to the FINRA arbitration complaint, the elderly Claimant entrusted the entirety of her retirement portfolio to Arete Wealth Management and its broker. The broker proceeded to recommend the senior Claimant invest approximately half a million dollars in various illiquid, non-traded REITs. Among other non-traded REITs, the Arete Wealth Management broker recommended the Claimant invest in American Finance Trust, Hospitality Investors Trust, benefit Partners Realty Trust, and FS Energy and Power Fund, according to the FINRA arbitration complaint.

In addition to Arete Wealth Management’s unsuitable recommendations to invest in non-traded REITs, the Arete Wealth Management broker also invested the elderly Claimant’s brokerage account in risky investments such as leveraged ETFs and ETNs, according to the securities arbitration claim. These leveraged ETFs and ETNs are typically meant to be held for no more than one day. The FINRA arbitration complaint alleges the Arete Wealth Management broker held them for far longer than one day – in some cases months. Claimant, according to the securities arbitration claim, lost a significant amount of money in her Arete Wealth Management brokerage accounts.

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