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FINRA-Permanently-Bars-Gary-Eugene-Donovan-for-Stock-Manipulation-300x200The SEC obtained a preliminary injunction against two individuals and their companies on October 26, 2018. The fraudulent actions of these individuals resulted in more than $165 million of illegal sales and stock in at least 50 microcap companies.

According to the SEC, U.K. citizen Roger Knox and his Swiss-based company, Wintercap SA, was involved in antifraud and violating federal securities laws. German citizen Michael T. Gastauer and six of his entities were involved in aiding and abetting Knox and Wintercap’s violations of the same provisions. The court had originally entered a temporary restraining order and asset freeze on October 2, 2018.

The SEC’s complaint states that Knox and Wintercap aided microcap securities holders in evading federal securities laws that restrict sales by large shareholders. Knox and Wintercap gave anonymous access to brokerage accounts in order to sell shares in the U.S. market. They also helped sellers conceal the amount of stock they wanted to sell. Gastauer allegedly established several U.S. corporations to aid and abet the fraud, and allowed Knox to use certain bank accounts to distribute the proceeds of his illegal stock sales.

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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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https://www.silverlaw.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Have-You-Lost-Money-with-Cantone-Research-Inc.-300x199.jpgOn October 25, 2018, the SEC obtained a court order to halt the alleged fraudulent actions of a registered stock broker and his companies.

The complaint by the SEC states that Sean Kelly used his companies, Lion’s Share Financial of East Cobb, Inc., Lion’s Share and Associates, Inc., and Lion Share Tax Services, LLC, to raise $1 million from a variety of investors. There were 12 investors, which included retirees. Kelly promised he would invest their funds into different investment products, but his promise was a lie. Instead of investing their funds into private placements and real estate, he used it on his own personal expenses. He continued to steal their money after receiving a SEC subpoena, and didn’t show up to his scheduled testimony. He used their money to buy Super Bowl tickets, expensive vacations, and also for cash withdrawals. The SEC alleges that Kelly has engaged in this fraud scheme since 2014, when he was still affiliated with Capital Financial Services.

Kelly was a representative of Center Street Securities from August 2017 to October 2018. He worked with Capital Financial Services from August 2012 to August 2017 in Marietta, Georgia. His records show that he filed for bankruptcy twice, in 2009 and in 2014.

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Stockbroker-Misconduct-1-300x150-300x150The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association has stated that in 2019, it plans to keep pressure on state officials who consider following Nevada in imposing a higher standard of care on broker-dealers. Leaders of the organization said that after praising a federal proposal that has been in the making for decades, SIFMA is committed to heading off state efforts that could overlap with the proposal, known as the Regulation Best Interest.

For years, the industry has disagreed about how to ensure that broker-dealers and investment advisers act in their clients’ best interests when recommending investments. In April, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission introduced Regulation BI, which is a proposal that would put checks on brokers and advisers.

“We would hope that states will pause, let the SEC act and then figure out how that’s going to protect their constituents within their states,” SIFMA’s president and CEO, Kenneth Bentsen said. “It is an issue of high interest to us and something we’ve been very involved in.”

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Churning-1024x683-300x200The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has accused Emil Botvinnik of taking $3.7 million in a fraudulent scheme involving excessive, high-frequency trading. On November 7, 2018, he asked a New York federal judge to toss the suit because he claimed its allegations do not meet the pleading standard for fraud.

The claims against Botvinnik state that he wrongfully used his clients’ accounts while he was employed at Meyers Associates LP. However, Botvinnik denies these claims and he stated that there are no specific allegations that proves his clients were the type of unsophisticated investors who would not benefit from high-frequency trading. He also stated that his clients may only have been simply unaware of the trading strategy and its risks.

The SEC said that from June 2012 until November 2014, Botvinnik solicited five customers to open securities trading accounts for which he claimed he would employ a profitable trading strategy. He then implemented the strategy of frequent, short-term trades that forced significant costs and commissions on the investors. For example, the accounts would have had to reach an annual return of between 31 and 150 percent just to pay off the transaction costs that built up from the trading strategy. This type of trading is frequently referred to as churning.

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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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iStock-492125706-300x200Silver Law Group is investigating claims against brokers and financial advisors who committed securities misconduct in Orlando, Florida and the surrounding area.

Orlando is located in Orange County, Florida and has a population of just under 2.5 million as of July 2015, the third-largest metropolitan area in Florida.

Orlando is also known as the “Theme Park Capital of the World,” featuring numerous high-profile theme parks such as Disney’s Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Epcot, Universal Studios, and Seaworld. In fact, the theme parks attracted over 66 million visitors to Orland in 2015 alone.

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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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Have-You-Lost-Money-Investing-With-Bennett-Broad-300x225Paul William Murans (CRD #3266607, aka “Peace Murans”) is a registered broker and investment advisor currently employed with Thurston Springer Financial (CRD #8478) of Indianapolis, IN. His previous employers include UBS Financial Services Inc. (CRD #8174) and Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (CRD #7691), also of Indianapolis, and UBS Painewebber Inc. (CRD #8174) of Weehawken, NJ. He has been in the industry since 1999.

Murans is the subject of six disclosures, two of which are employment separations. His most recent disclosure was filed on 11/18/2018, carried over from his previous employment with UBS Financial Services. The client claims that from 12/2/2013 through 10/20/2017, Murans misrepresented a “life settlement contract” that was ultimately unsuitable, and unauthorized trading of “structured products.” The client also alleged that she was completely unaware that she was borrowing from her loan account. Murans denies the allegations, and has requested copies of the complaint, as has Thurston Springer Financial, but UBS has not supplied the requested information to verify the complaint. The case was settled for $250,000.

A customer dispute filed on 5/16/2018 is currently listed as “pending.” The customer alleges “Unsuitable investments, unauthorized credit line agreement, unauthorized trades, uninvested funds, lost market opportunity,” and requests damages of $183,000. Murans denies the allegations.

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