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Articles Posted in SEC Actions

On July 17, 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), brought fraud charges against David Hu, the co-founder and chief investment officer of International Investment Group (IIG), in Manhattan federal district court. A link to the charges can be found here.  The SEC is charging Hu with running multiple fraudulent schemes to misrepresent the performance and conceal losses in IIG’s Trade Opportunities Fund (TOF). In addition, Hu is alleged to have sold over $60 million in phony trade finance loans to investors, using the proceeds to pay back other customers who made redemption requests for earlier investments.On July 17, 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), brought fraud charges against David Hu, the co-founder and chief investment officer of International Investment Group (IIG), in Manhattan federal district court. A link to the charges can be found here.

The SEC is charging Hu with running multiple fraudulent schemes to misrepresent the performance and conceal losses in IIG’s Trade Opportunities Fund (TOF). In addition, Hu is alleged to have sold over $60 million in phony trade finance loans to investors, using the proceeds to pay back other customers who made redemption requests for earlier investments. Continue reading ›

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has charged former Morgan Stanley broker Michael Barry Carter with fraud for stealing from his customers, including an elderly client.  The complaint filed by the SEC alleges that Carter, a currently-barred broker who was last registered with Morgan Stanley in their McLean, Virginia office, made dozens of unauthorized wire transfers from his client’s accounts to his personal bank account, which amounted to millions of dollars. It is alleged that Carter falsified documents to make the transfers and made unauthorized sales of client’s securities.The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has charged former Morgan Stanley broker Michael Barry Carter with fraud for stealing from his customers, including an elderly client.

The complaint filed by the SEC alleges that Carter, a currently-barred broker who was last registered with Morgan Stanley in their McLean, Virginia office, made dozens of unauthorized wire transfers from his client’s accounts to his personal bank account, which amounted to millions of dollars. It is alleged that Carter falsified documents to make the transfers and made unauthorized sales of client’s securities. Continue reading ›

Our south Florida securities and investment fraud attorneys are investigating claims on behalf of investors in PAR Funding and related companies. On July 24, 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), brought an emergency action against a number of individuals and entities, including but not limited to John Gissas and his central-Florida based company, Retirement Evolution Group, LLC, for their roles in an alleged half billion dollar fraud scheme. The SEC brought its emergency action to immediately halt the nation-wide fraud, which is believed to have harmed over 1,200 investors. The SEC is seeking a temporary restraining order and by freezing assets. A link to the charges can be found here, which was unsealed on Friday, July 31, 2020.Our south Florida securities and investment fraud attorneys are investigating claims on behalf of investors in PAR Funding and related companies. On July 24, 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), brought an emergency action against a number of individuals and entities, including but not limited to John Gissas and his central-Florida based company, Retirement Evolution Group, LLC, for their roles in an alleged half billion dollar fraud scheme. Continue reading ›

Our south Florida securities and investment fraud attorneys are investigating claims on behalf of investors in PAR Funding and related companies. On July 24, 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), brought an emergency action against a number of individuals and entities, including but not limited to Dean J. Vagnozzi and his Pennsylvania-based company, A Better Financial Plan, for their roles in an alleged half billion dollar fraud scheme. The SEC brought its emergency action to immediately halt the nation-wide fraud, which is believed to have harmed over 1,200 investors. The SEC is seeking a temporary restraining order and by freezing assets. A link to the charges can be found here, which was unsealed on Friday, July 31, 2020.Our south Florida securities and investment fraud attorneys are investigating claims on behalf of investors in PAR Funding and related companies. On July 24, 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), brought an emergency action against a number of individuals and entities, including but not limited to Dean J. Vagnozzi and his Pennsylvania-based company, A Better Financial Plan, for their roles in an alleged half billion dollar fraud scheme. Continue reading ›

Our south Florida securities and investment fraud attorneys are investigating claims on behalf of investors in PAR Funding and related companies. On July 24, 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), brought an emergency action against a number of individuals and entities, including but not limited to Michael C. Furman and his south-Florida based company, United Fidelis Group Corp., for their roles in an alleged half billion dollar fraud scheme. The SEC brought its emergency action to immediately halt the nationwide fraud, which is believed to have harmed over 1,200 investors. The SEC is seeking a temporary restraining order and by freezing assets. A link to the charges can be found here, which was unsealed on Friday, July 31, 2020.Our south Florida securities and investment fraud attorneys are investigating claims on behalf of investors in PAR Funding and related companies. On July 24, 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), brought an emergency action against a number of individuals and entities, including but not limited to Michael C. Furman and his south-Florida based company, United Fidelis Group Corp., for their roles in an alleged half billion dollar fraud scheme. Continue reading ›

On July 24, 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), brought an emergency action against Par Funding and others, to obtain a temporary restraining order and freeze assets in order to halt a nearly half-billion dollar fraud scheme, harming over 1,200 across the U.S. A link to the charges can be found here, which was unsealed on Friday, July 31, 2020. In the Complaint, the SEC alleged that Joseph W. LaForte (a convicted felon) and his wife, Lisa McElhone orchestrated a scheme to defraud investors, using unregistered securities offerings for Complete Business Solutions Group (CBSG). CBSG was a cash advance company they controlled, that did business under the name “Par Funding.”On July 24, 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), brought an emergency action against Par Funding and others, to obtain a temporary restraining order and freeze assets in order to halt a nearly half-billion dollar fraud scheme, harming over 1,200 across the U.S. A link to the charges can be found here, which was unsealed on Friday, July 31, 2020.

In the Complaint, the SEC alleged that Joseph W. LaForte (a convicted felon) and his wife, Lisa McElhone orchestrated a scheme to defraud investors, using unregistered securities offerings for Complete Business Solutions Group (CBSG). CBSG was a cash advance company they controlled, that did business under the name “Par Funding.” Continue reading ›

The Variable Annuity Life Insurance Company (VALIC), a unit of AIG, was recently ordered to pay a penalty of $19,943,753 for—according to the SEC—breaching its fiduciary duty to clients in connection with its mutual fund sales practices. The SEC’s investigation into VALIC’s misconduct was part of a broader investigation into other misconduct by VALIC, including undisclosed and improper payments to a company owned by Florida teachers’ unions in exchange for the union’s endorsement and referrals of clients to VALIC.The Variable Annuity Life Insurance Company (VALIC), a unit of AIG, was recently ordered to pay a penalty of $19,943,753 for—according to the SEC—breaching its fiduciary duty to clients in connection with its mutual fund sales practices. The SEC’s investigation into VALIC’s misconduct was part of a broader investigation into other misconduct by VALIC, including undisclosed and improper payments to a company owned by Florida teachers’ unions in exchange for the union’s endorsement and referrals of clients to VALIC. Continue reading ›

Silver Law Group represents investors who have lost money due to stockbroker misconduct relating to variable annuities. The SEC settlement helps victims recover some money, but other investors may have suffered additional damages by unsuitable investments, improper recommendations to purchase variable annuities in tax free accounts and other misconduct. The Variable Annuity Life Insurance Company (VALIC), a unit of AIG, recently agreed to pay a $20 million settlement related to an action brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC action related to VALIC making improper payments to a for-profit entity owned by Florida teachers’ unions in exchange for the unions’ endorsement of VALIC’s financial services. VALIC was in turn pushing improper investment products on investors without full disclosure of its arrangement with the union. The settlement was part of a larger $40 million settlement by VALIC related to a broader investigation into other VALIC misconduct.

The Variable Annuity Life Insurance Company (VALIC), a unit of AIG, recently agreed to pay a $20 million settlement related to an action brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC action related to VALIC making improper payments to a for-profit entity owned by Florida teachers’ unions in exchange for the unions’ endorsement of VALIC’s financial services. VALIC was in turn pushing improper investment products on investors without full disclosure of its arrangement with the union. The settlement was part of a larger $40 million settlement related to a broader investigation into other VALIC misconduct. Continue reading ›

On April 21, 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a Complaint for Injunctive and Other Relief (Complaint) against Steven L. Brickner. According to the SEC, Brickner “falsely represented to prospective investors that he would use their money to purchase the assets of a Colorado-licensed marijuana dispensary network . . .” and ultimately net investors substantial gains through a reverse merger IPO. In reality, Brickner did not own the assets he represented to investors and never filed any necessary documents to complete his promised merger or IPO. Instead, the SEC alleges that from 2015 to 2019, “Brickner misappropriated approximately $3 million of investor money to fund his lavish lifestyle.” According to the SEC’s press release regarding this matter, Brickner had more than 60 victims, most of whom were retail investors. The SEC alleges that Brickner violated various provisions of the federal securities laws. As part of the fraud, the SEC explained that Brickner, a 48-year-old Central Florida resident, operated FirstCanna Pharmaceuticals LLC, FirstCanna Financial LLC, FirstCanna Insurance LLC, and High Country Healing Co. LLC. The SEC Complaint highlights that Brickner’s LinkedIn profile and other background information create a façade of past success running a series of venture capital, finance, and other commercial companies in the Tampa, Florida area. However, Hillsborough County court records indicate that Brickner and one of Brickner’s prior ventures, VC Financial Management, LLC, were accused of defrauding a Tampa-based tech startup startup in or around 2014.  The SEC Complaint also indicates that Brickner filed for bankruptcy in 2016 and did not file a tax return in 2014 “because he had no taxable income.” This was far from the successful venture capitalist turned entrepreneur Brickner held himself out to be.On April 21, 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a Complaint for Injunctive and Other Relief (Complaint) against Steven L. Brickner. According to the SEC, Brickner “falsely represented to prospective investors that he would use their money to purchase the assets of a Colorado-licensed marijuana dispensary network . . .” and ultimately net investors substantial gains through a reverse merger IPO. In reality, Brickner did not own the assets he represented to investors and never filed any necessary documents to complete his promised merger or IPO. Continue reading ›

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is accusing Florida-based real estate firm EquiAlt LLC, and its owner and managing director, with running a Ponzi scheme that raised over $170 million from 1,100 investors and misappropriated millions of dollars to pay for personal luxury items including sports cars and private jet travel.The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is accusing Florida-based real estate firm EquiAlt LLC, and its owner and managing director, with running a Ponzi scheme that raised over $170 million from 1,100 investors and misappropriated millions of dollars to pay for personal luxury items including sports cars and private jet travel.

Did you lose money with EquiAlt? Call our attorneys toll free at (800)-975-4345 or e-mail ssilver@silverlaw.com for a no-cost confidential consultation about options to recover your losses. Continue reading ›

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