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Diamonds may still be a “girl’s best friend,” but for 300 or more investors in the US and Canada, there weren’t any to befriend. This week, the SEC obtained a court order to shut down a Ponzi scheme run by South Florida-based owner Jose Angel Aman, and his company, Argyle Coin for allegedly operating a Ponzi scheme. Silver Law Group represents many of the victims in this Ponzi scheme. Using the classic model of collecting money and paying dividends to investors with money from new investors, Aman allegedly diverted much of the collected monies to himself for personal use. The Argyle scheme is tied into two other companies he owns, Natural Diamonds Investment Co., and Eagle Financial Diamond Group Inc. Two individuals who have interests these two companies, Harold Seigel and Jonathan H. Seigel, worked with Aman to perpetuate the scheme.Diamonds may still be a “girl’s best friend,” but for 300 or more investors in the US and Canada, there weren’t any to befriend. This week, the SEC obtained a court order to shut down a Ponzi scheme run by South Florida-based owner Jose Angel Aman, and his company, Argyle Coin.

Silver Law Group represents many of the victims in this Ponzi scheme. Continue reading

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Silver Law Group is investigating former Salinas, California-based, Independent Financial Group broker David Marshall after some customers have come forward alleging he recommended his customers invest with unregistered brokers. According to Marshall’s FINRA BrokerCheck report, Marshall was registered with Independent Financial Group at its Salinas, California branch from July 2015 to October 2017 and is now unregistered. Marshall ran his brokerage business through his own company, Marshall Wealth Management, according to his detailed CRD report. Marshall Wealth Management was also a registered investment adviser.Silver Law Group is investigating former Salinas, California-based, Independent Financial Group broker David Marshall after some customers have come forward alleging he recommended his customers invest with unregistered brokers.

According to Marshall’s FINRA BrokerCheck report, Marshall was registered with Independent Financial Group at its Salinas, California branch from July 2015 to October 2017 and is now unregistered. Marshall ran his brokerage business through his own company, Marshall Wealth Management, according to his detailed CRD report. Marshall Wealth Management was also a registered investment adviser. Continue reading

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Scott Silver, the managing partner of Silver Law Group, recently spoke to AutoNews.com for an article about GPB Capital’s ongoing legal troubles. GPB Capital investments were sold by SagePoint Financial, National Securities, and other brokerage firms.Scott Silver, the managing partner of Silver Law Group, recently spoke to AutoNews.com for an article about GPB Capital’s ongoing legal troubles. GPB Capital investments were sold by SagePoint Financial, National Securities, and other brokerage firms.

According to the article, GPB Capital Holdings is the majority owner of Prime Automotive Group, which is the 11th-largest dealership group in the country. GPB is the subject of federal and state investigations, and investors are concerned. There is concern that it could collapse and leave Prime without its majority investor and cause people who’ve invested in GPB to lose their money. Continue reading

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Boca-Raton-Oppenheimer-Employees-Settle-SEC-Investigation-300x208The CFTC, along with the Utah Department of Commerce, Division of Securities, through its Attorney General, jointly filed a civil enforcement action in the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah, Central Division. They filed against Gaylen Dean Rust and his business Rust Rare Coin (RRC). The complaint charges Rust and his company with committing fraud against approximately 200 individuals from Utah, and also from 16 other states. Rust allegedly obtained more than $170 million from investors since May 2013 in a precious metals ponzi scheme.

The complaint states that Rust’s fraudulent actions are ongoing. From January to August of 2018, Rust received $42 million from investors, which he claimed he used to buy and sell silver. He also allegedly attempted to solicit new investors recently.

On November 15, 2018, the U.S. District Court Judge for the District of Utah, Honorable Tena Campbell, entered a restraining order to freeze Rust’s assets and to permit the CFTC and State of Utah to inspect his records. Jonathan O. Hafen was appointed as a temporary receiver to take control of RRC and Rust’s assets.

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In August, we told you about John Cochran Maccoll (CRD #839441) who was barred by FINRA after multiple fraud allegations. Since then, there have been two additional developments.

Another customer has come forward and filed a complaint on 08/16/2018, alleging misappropriation of client funds from 10/01/2015 through 08/16/2018. The case was settled for $158,163.76. No additional information is available. This case is in addition to the previous cases we described in the earlier blog post.

The SEC Has Proposed New Regulations for Fiduciaries on silverlaw.comOn 8/9/2018, The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan filed criminal charges against Maccoll in an action initiated by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC.) In it, the SEC detailed how Maccoll persuaded investors, mostly elderly, into investing in what he described as a “highly sought after private fund investment.”  These investors, most of them retired, used their retirement accounts to fund their alleged investments. In return, Maccoll promised a 20% return on investment, as well as diversifying their portfolios and better growth potential than their current investment portfolios.

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Back in June, we told you about five former brokers charged by the SEC when the agency shut down their Ponzi scheme worth $102 million.

What-Keeps-a-Ponzi-Scheme-Running-300x200Scott Silver recently spoke with Jennifer Cefalu of WHEC News in Rochester, NY, where two of the suspects lived and the scheme originated. The scheme was run by Perry Santillo, Jr. and Chris Parris, with Santillo headlining.

Santillo, Parris and three others recruited their investors by word of mouth, after buying client lists from brokers. Ultimately, 637 people were defrauded, many in the Rochester area. The entities they represented were not registered with any federal agency like the SEC or FINRA, nor were any of them registered brokers or investment advisors.

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There are many different types of investment and securities fraud scams designed to bilk investors out of millions of dollars. Sometimes even billions.

As was the case of one of the world’s most famous Ponzi schemers, Bernie Madoff, who is spending the rest of his life in prison.

Attorney Scott Silver, of the Silver Law Group says:

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The SEC has strict rules about how a broker-dealer operates, runs their business and keeps records.  Any variation from these rules can trigger a sanction or other regulatory process. Centaurus Financial has been the subject of multiple sanctions for various infractions and disputes filed by customers. For these regulatory sanctions, the company has paid over half a million dollars in penalties, fines and fees over the years. In some cases, there were no financial products involved or sold, only regulatory violations.

Centaurus has paid out over three million dollars in securities arbitration awards and judgments.

Attorney Scott Silver, of the Silver Law Group says:

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Hector May (CRD #323779) is a former registered broker and investment advisor, last employed with Securities America, Inc. (CRD #10205) of New York City. His previous employers include Prime Capital Services, Inc. (CRD #18334) of Poughkeepsie, NY, Equico Securities, Inc. (CRD #6627) and The Equitable Life Assurance Society Of The United States (CRD #4039) of New York City. He has been in the industry since 1973.

May has three disclosures filed this year. The first, on 03/08/2018, is an official criminal investigation by the US Department of Justice for a “suspected felony.”  No additional information is available.

On 3/9/2018, May was discharged from Securities America due to “Misappropriation of client assets.”

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Silver Law Group Managing Partner Scott Silver was again quoted in Investment News regarding the new charges by the SEC against the alleged real estate investment company Woodbridge.

“I think these types of investments are a massive problem, and it’s bigger than people give credence to,” Mr. Silver said. “Look at the ads in the back of the newspaper, or go to retirement conferences in South Florida. Companies there are pitching investments untethered to the stock market that are not securities.”

Ponzi-Schemes2-300x150Much like the recent bankruptcy of 1st Global, Woodbridge was found to be operating a huge Ponzi scheme worth approximately $1.2 billion (and is also located in Florida.) At the center of this operation are individuals acting as brokers and investment advisors. Many of these unregistered salespeople are former brokers and advisors who have been barred by FINRA after a customer complaint, employment separation or other unresolved administrative issue.

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