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Articles Tagged with securities fraud

Michael Patrick Nixon (CRD #216931) is a registered broker and investment advisor currently employed with Paulson Investment Company LLC (CRD #5670) of Tampa, Florida. His previous employers include Newport Coast Securities, Inc. (CRD #16944) and Meyers Associates, L.P. (CRD #34171), both of Leesburg, VA. Six of his previous employers have been expelled by FINRA, including Newport and Meyers. He has been in the industry since 1991.

Chestnut-Exploration-and-Mark-Plummer-Facing-Allegations-of-Securities-Fraud-With-Oil-Gas-Securities-300x225Nixon has a total of four disclosures in his record, the most recent a customer dispute filed on 7/9/2018. The claimants allege that from 2013 to 2018, Nixon violated both the Florida Securities Act and the Virginia Securities Act. They also allege that he committed common law and securities fraud and breached his fiduciary duty, and completely misrepresented multiple unsuitable securities and investments. Additional allegations include failure to supervise on the part of the firm (Paulson Investment.) Claimants are requesting damages in the amount of $3,000,000. The case is currently pending.

His previous customer dispute was filed on 10/9/1998, which included allegations of “misrepresentation and deceit” in relation to a stock liquidation to meet a margin call. The client requested damages of $9,000, and was granted damages of $2,006.95. Nixon denied the allegations.

Frequently, investment and securities fraud cases are only limited by Wall Street’s ability to find new and creative ways to abuse investors.

This type of fraud arises out of allegations that losses are due to misconduct or causes unrelated to market forces and is governed by the Securities Exchange Commission, also known as the SEC.

Attorney Scott Silver, of the Silver Law Group says:

What is the Statute of Limitations on Securities Fraud? on silverlaw.com

How much time do you have to take legal action against a fraudulent broker? It depends…

If you’ve only recently realized that you were defrauded by your broker or financial advisor, or have been waiting until obtaining the proper evidence to take legal action against them, it’s essential to know the statute of limitations on security fraud. The amount of time you have to make a case against the investment professional who has defrauded is two to five years under federal law, but there are some circumstances that determine when your clock actually starts ticking.

What federal law says

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had announced it has charged two individuals and eight companies with fraud in relation to company securities and what was described as “charitable gift annuities.” The complaint was filed in the U.S. district court in Syracuse, New York.

Allegations of Investment Fraud

One of the defendants is James P. Griffin, the founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of 54Freedom Inc. (54Freedom). Both Griffin and the company are located in Cazenovia, New York. 54Freedom was initially formed to sell insurance products to Americans with disabilities. However, after several years, the defendants changed the company’s purported business plan to focus on the sale of its charitable gift annuities. Throughout the company’s existence, the SEC claims the defendants provided unrealistic financial projections to prospective investors.

Christopher Veale Under Investigation From FINRA After Churning Allegations post by silverlaw.com

Disciplinary action Pending

In April, FINRA initiated a regulatory investigation after Christopher Frederic Veale, most recently employed by Legend Securities, Inc., allegedly refused to provide documents requested by the agency in response to alleged rule violations. The purported violations involve business and outside business activities, as well as a potential violation of FINRA disclosure requirements in regard to outstanding liens, of which he has a great sum, according to FINRA.

Veale’s 18-year career in the securities industry has been fraught with dispute, both with FINRA and with customers. He has been employed by 18 firms, seven of which have since been expelled by FINRA, according to its website. Amongst other firms, Veale has been employed at John Thomas Financial, Meyers Associates, LP, and Blackwall Capital Markets, Inc.

Financial Professionals Making False Claims

Tips on how how to be alert so you do not fall victim to an investment scheme.

The old adage “don’t believe everything you hear or read” rings true in the case of a recent Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) Investor Alert. This particular alert warns investors about financial professionals that may misrepresent their backgrounds and professional experience to lure investors into investment schemes.

Fraudulent Information Abounds

Last week, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) filed charges against Newport Coast Securities, Inc. (“Newport Coast”) and some of its current and former registered representatives, accusing them of using margin and risky securities to artificially generate huge commissions for themselves while wiping out most of their customers’ investment capital.

Newport Coast, a New York-based broker-dealer, by and through brokers Douglas Leone, Andre LaBarbera, David Levy, Antontio Costanzo, and Donald Bartlet, allegedly churned the accounts of twenty four customers — many of whom are retirees — causing more than $1,000,000 in losses to the investor-clients.  “Churning,” as it is known in the industry, is the act of a broker who excessively and needlessly engages in trading in a client’s account primarily to generate commissions for the broker on each trade without regard for the client’s financial well-being.  Churning is an illegal and unethical practice that violates SEC rules and securities laws.  The brokers are also purported to have created new account forms for their victimized clients that misstated the clients’ net worth, investment experience, and objectives; and two of the brokers (Levy and Costanzo) attempted to dissuade several customers from cooperating with FINRA’s investigation into the matter — all of which was done to cover up the illegality of the brokers’ excessive activity in the client accounts.

According to FINRA, former Newport Coast supervisors Marc Arena and Roman Luckey saw what was transpiring but took no meaningful steps to curtail the misconduct.  To the contrary, the firm’s managers, supervisors, and the former President of the company allegedly profited through overrides on the churned accounts.

Scott Silver, Managing Partner of Silver Law Group, is the current co-chair of the Securities and Financial Fraud group of the American Association of Justice (“AAJ”).  On July 28, 2014, during the 2014 AAJ Annual Convention in Baltimore, Maryland, Scott gave a well-received presentation titled “How to Win an Alternative Investment Case.”  AAJ, also known as the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, is the world’s largest trial bar and promotes justice and fairness for injured persons and safeguards victims’ rights.

The theme of the presentation focused on the rise of Alternative Investment or Product cases over the last several years.   Driven by its desire to replace commissions lost as investors realize stocks and bonds can be traded at discount firms for less than ten dollars a trade, Wall Street has introduced many new Alternatives to investors.  However, many of the new, complex Alternatives can be riddled with fees, conflicts of interest, and are frequently more speculative than marketed by the firms.  Several recent FINRA arbitration claims focus on products which lose substantially all of their value in a short time.  FINRA has seen a rise in arbitration claims where multiple investors all seek damages relating to the same Alternative Investments or Product and where one or more of the asserted claims center around allegations regarding the widespread mismarketing or defective development of a specific investment.

Alternative Investments which have been the subject of recent FINRA claims include:

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) has filed a civil lawsuit against a Palm Beach, Florida-based transfer agent and its owner for allegedly defrauding more than 70 investors out of more than $3 million by using “aggressive boiler room tactics” to sell worthless investment securities.

According to the SEC’s lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in New York, International Stock Transfer, Inc. (“IST”) and its sole owner, Cecil Franklin Speight, committed mail fraud and securities fraud by creating and issuing fake securities certificates to both domestic and foreign investors.  While orchestrating a group of “cold callers” who promised investors high returns or discounted prices, Speight and IST actually provided the investors nothing more than counterfeit foreign bond certificates and stock certificates, including some for a publicly-traded microcap company with no connection to IST.  Moreover, to cloak his scheme with an appearance of legitimacy, Speight and IST told investors to send their investment funds to two attorneys who would place the funds in their own bank accounts.  From there, however, the funds did not go to any issuers; instead, the funds went to IST, where Speight used the money to pay personal expenses, including purchases at Mercedes-Benz, Nordstrom, and Groupon.  In the course of this scheme, Speight allegedly stole more than $3.3 million, sporadically paying prior foreign bond fund investors with new investor money in classic Ponzi scheme fashion.

Speight and IST have agreed to settle the SEC’s charges, with Speight agreeing to be barred from serving as an officer or director of a public company, agreeing to be enjoined from participating in any penny stock offerings, and requiring Speight and IST to disgorge all of their ill-gotten gains.  Monetary sanctions will be determined by the Court at a later date, though Speight reportedly faces at least $3.3 million in restitution and a fine equal to double the investors’ losses.  Additionally, Speight has pleaded guilty to a criminal charge in a parallel action brought against him by the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.  He faces up to five years in prison.

According to the Sun Sentinel, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office has charged Sultaine Valcius of Boynton Beach with fraud after taking $1.4 million from a 93 year-old man that hired her as a medical aide.

The Sun Sentinel reports Sultaine Valcius, 48, is charged with organized scheme to defraud for taking the money from her employer for at least five years.  Ms. Valcius requested the money for various reasons, including, nursing school tuition, purchasing a home as an investment property, repairing a home in Haiti that had been destroyed by an earthquake and for general financial assistance due to her husband purportedly losing his job.  However, Ms. Valcius was allegedly never enrolled in school, the house that was purchased was used as the primary residence by Ms. Valcius and her husband was never laid off from the job she claimed he had.

Ms. Valcius convinced the elderly gentleman to write her numerous checks ranging from a couple of hundreds of dollars to tens of thousands of dollars from two of his brokerage accounts maintained at two national broker/dealers.    However, even if convicted, it is unlikely that Ms. Valcius will have the adequate resources to repay the victim.

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