Silver Law Group continues to investigate Dean Vagnozzi, Par Funding, A Better Financial Plan, and others on behalf of investors in what the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) says was a $500 million “web of unregistered, fraudulent securities offerings.”
Around 1,200 investors were solicited through advertisements and free dinner seminars and promised high returns with little to no risk by investing in a merchant cash advance business.
Many investors were retired and liked that the investment was not market-correlated, and believing their money was insured from any loss, handed over hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars of their savings.
SEC Files Complaint Against Par Funding, Dean Vagnozzi, Others
The SEC’s recently unsealed civil complaint alleges Par Funding was a fraud designed to enrich those involved, including founder and convicted felon Joseph LaForte and his wife Lisa McElhone. The complaint states that Complete Business Solutions Group (CBSG), which did business as Par Funding, made opportunistic loans, some that charged interest as high as 400%, to small businesses across the country.
In addition to LaForte and McElhone, the SEC’s complaint, which seeks injunctive and other relief, names as defendants Par Funding, Dean Vagnozzi, A Better Financial Plan, John Gissas, Retirement Evolution Income Fund, Michael Furman, United Fidelis Group, Perry Abbonizio, and others.
The SEC’s complaint alleges that LaForte, McElhone, and Par Funding employees used a network of unlicensed sales agents to sell promissory notes to public investors, while concealing their business and how the funds were used and concealing LaForte’s criminal history.
Dean Vagnozzi And A Better Financial Plan (ABFP)
One of Par Funding’s foremost agents was Dean Vagnozzi, who lived and worked in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area. Vagnozzi and his firm, A Better Financial Plan (ABFP), advertised on the radio and in newspapers and offered a free dinner to attendees of their seminars. Retirees were told that an investment with them was conservative and would provide a very high return.
The Philadelphia Inquirer has been covering the developing story and gives details on his flashy lifestyle:
“Financial adviser Dean Vagnozzi likes to drive a six-figure Aston Martin sports car. Not one to miss a marketing opportunity, Vagnozzi has a license plate that reads: “GET ABFP” — the initials for his investment firm, known as A Better Financial Plan…He installed his own nine-hole golf practice green behind his house in Collegeville, a feature recently profiled in a Wall Street Journal story. The article said it cost at least $75,000.”
Investors in ABFP/Par Funding were paid the promised interest until the coronavirus pandemic hit. Then, blaming the pandemic, Par Funding investors were offered much lower 4% interest on their notes. Many investors accepted, then payments stopped entirely, leaving investors without the income expected from their investment and no access to the principal invested.
Par Funding Placed Into Receivership
A judge in Florida granted the SEC’s motion to appoint a receiver, which froze the bank accounts of CBSG. Now the receiver will unwind the company and recover as much money as possible for the investors, which will be distributed to them on a pro rata basis. The SEC action stays any litigation against Par Funding and CBSG.
Silver Law Group is moving aggressively investigating a potential class action against the third-party professionals involved in the alleged fraud to help recover money for investors.
Did You Lose Money With Par Funding, A Better Financial Plan/Dean Vagnozzi?
If you invested money Dean J. Vagnozzi and/or A Better Financial Plan, we may be able to help you recover investment losses. At Silver Law Group, our nationally-recognized securities and investment fraud attorneys help investors throughout the country. We are investigating Par Funding and avenues of recovery for investors. Contact Silver Law Group at (800)-975-4799 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for a no-cost consultation.