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Did you invest with Centaurus Financial, Inc. or J.P. Turner & Co., Inc. and suffer losses in Structured CDs, Structured Notes, Non-Traded Real Estate Investment Trusts (“REITs”), or other investments?  If so, we may be able to help you recover your losses.

The Doss law firm and Shepherd, Smith, Edwards & Kantas are investigating claims on behalf of investors, many of which are retired and current Flour Corp. employees, who have suffered losses at the hands of Centaurus financial advisors who were formerly with J.P. Turner.  Those advisors, in many cases, mismanaged client investment accounts by placing them in high-risk and illiquid structured CDs, structured notes, non-traded REITs and other complicated investments.

Structured products, such as structured CDs and notes, are very complex and highly risky investments that are rarely suitable for most investors.  Similarly, non-traded REITs and other private placement investments are illiquid and risky investments that are not appropriate for most individual investors, especially retirees.  These investments are often sold as being safe and paying higher interest rates than most other investments.  However, the promised higher rates are often only guaranteed for a short time – typically a year – and are much riskier than more traditional investments.  Additionally, with most private placements, the supposed interest payments are often just a return of the investor’s own money, not a rate of return for the investment.  Ultimately, these investments typically lock investors into them long-term, resulting in limited income and often substantial losses.

A Texas investor has filed an investor fraud claim against Kalos Capital, Inc. and its financial advisor Joshua Daniel Stivers, who operated under the name Platinum Wealth Advisory. The retired investor claims that Stivers promised her an investment plan that was low risk and conservative. Instead, the Kalos Capital advisor allegedly employed an unsuitable employment strategy that was improperly allocated and involved investing in private placements, including the GPB Holdings II, LP Fund.

The investor contends that this has resulted in substantial losses for her. Now, she is seeking up to $500K, with interest, plus costs.

GPB Private Placements Funds

Did you invest with Darren Oglesby (Monroe, LA) and/or Money Concepts Capital Corp. and suffer losses in GPB Capital or other private placement transactions?  If so, we may be able to help you recover your losses.

Shepherd, Smith, Edwards & Kantas, a national law firm dedicated to representing wronged investors, is investigating claims on behalf of current and former clients of Darren Oglesby and/or Money Concepts Capital Corp.  who were sold GPB Capital and other private placements, such as non-traded real estate investment trusts (“REITs”).  Private placements, such as GPB Capital, are often marketed to investors as safe ways to obtain a higher return.  In truth, these investments are high-risk securities and typically illiquid and impossible to accurately price.

GPB Capital is a good example of what can go wrong with such private placements and why they are supposed to only be sold to very sophisticated investors willing to take high risks.  For GPB Capital, the company raised a reported $1.8 billion from investors nationwide.  Nevertheless, it has been more than a year since the company failed to make required SEC reports.  Since then, financial information has been consistently delayed, the company’s auditor quit, several regulators have opened investigations into GPB Capital, the FBI raided the company’s offices in New York, a former business partner accused the company of being a “Ponzi scheme” and a current business partner has publicly reported accounting irregularities.

David Rosenberg, the CEO of Prime Automotive Group and a business partner of GPB Capital Holdings, is suing the private placement issuer in a Massachusetts Superior Court. According to Rosenberg’s complaint, GPB Capital has been operating a Ponzi-like scam that involved using investors’ funds to pay other investors and enhance its auto dealerships’ performances. Rosenberg is now the second former GPB Capital business partner to allege in public filings that GPB is essentially operating a Ponzi Scheme.

GPB Capital is a New York-based issuer of risky private placements that is invested primarily in auto dealerships and trash hauling companies. The firm has been under close scrutiny in the wake of allegations that it engaged in financial misconduct and as the value of its numerous GPB funds have dropped significantly from around $1.8 Billion down to about $1 Billion.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the New York City Business Integrity Commission, and the New Jersey Bureau of Securities are all investigating GPB Capital and its various funds. Additionally, Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin is investigating more than 60 brokerage firms whose brokers sold GPB private placements to investors. The “temporary” cessation of distributions to investors, since late last year, the firm’s failure over the last two years to provide financial statements, and its auditor’s resignation without completing its audit last year have only served to raise questions and increase concerns.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) announced that because of its mutual fund waiver initiative, it has arrived at a settlement with 56 broker-dealers that will provide almost 110,000 retirement and charitable accounts with $89M in restitution. Two of the firms, Western International Securities and Park Avenue Securities, settled on the same day that the self-regulatory organization (SRO) announced the multi-firm resolution. According to FINRA, the brokerage firms neglected to wave mutual fund sales charges for accounts that were eligible and they did not properly supervise the  sales.

FINRA’s Mutual Fund Waiver Initiative

FINRA launched its mutual fund waiver initiative in 2016 after arriving at a settlements with 10 member firms that self-reported how, going as far back as 2009, their registered representatives did not always apply sales waivers when warranted to the accounts of charitable and retirement plan accounts that bought mutual fund shares. While mutual funds are offered in different share classes and usually charge a sales fee upfront, a lot of the funds will waive the upfront fee on the more expensive Class A shares for certain retirement accounts and charities. The SRO also found that the firms had failed to adequately supervise these transactions, which could have helped to ensure that the mutual fund sales waivers were granted.

National Financial Services, which is Fidelity Investments’ clearing and custody unit, has given its brokerage firm clients 90 days to get rid of all GPB Capital Holdings private placements from its platform. The announcement means that investors and their financial advisers will have to move their GPB fund assets to a different custodial firm. Considering that there are a lot of broker-dealers who use National Financial as their primary custodial firm and to clear the investments of clients, the decision is likely to impact a lot of parties.

A main reason for the edict is that, reportedly, neither Fidelity nor National Financial are clear about the actual value of the GPB private placements. Third-party vendors typically provide this information. According to InvestmentNews, Fidelity spokesperson Nicole Abbott said that at the moment GPB is not meeting her company’s policy regarding alternative investments.

In Trouble with Investors and Regulators

In two mortgage-backed securities settlements reached with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Nomura Securities International will collectively pay customers about $25M. The enforcement actions involve residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) and commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS), respectively.

According to the SEC, Nomura failed to properly supervise its bond traders, who are accused of making statements that were false and misleading to customers by trying to get them to buy RMBS and CMBS. This purportedly included providing misleading information about:

    • How much Nomura had paid for the securities.

According to InvestmentNews, alternative asset management company GPB Capital Holdings has notified investors and custodians that its different private placement funds have recently suffered 25-73% losses in value. It’s largest funds, the GPB Automotive Portfolio and GPB Holdings II—together, these two raised $1.27B from investors—have experienced 38% and 25.4% drops, respectively. Such significant losses are clearly not good for investors, who, collectively, have invested about $1.8B in all of the GPB funds.

These private placement funds are invested mostly in waste management and car dealerships and they, along with GPB Capital Holdings, have come under intense scrutiny by both the government and investors. Set up in 2013, the company last year suspended all redemptions involving its funds. An auditing company retained by GPB Capital stepped down in November not long after questions regarding the company’s accounting practices and sales methods arose.

About 60 broker-dealers have sold GPB funds to investors. Advisers usually make a substantial commission for selling the private placements—a typically higher rate than what they’d get for selling mutual funds.

A $60M settlement has been reached between The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and AR Capital, the real estate investment trust (REIT) manager’s founder Nicholas Schorsch, and American Realty Capital Properties Inc. (ARCP) ex-CFO Brian Block. The three of them are accused of “wrongfully obtaining” millions of dollars related to two mergers involving REITS that AR Capital managed and sponsored.

According to the regulator’s complaint, between the latter part of 2012 and the beginning of 2014, AR Capital took steps so that ARCP, a publicly traded REIT, would merge with American Realty Capital Trust III and American Realty Capital Trust IV, two non-traded REITS that were publicly held. Schorsch was the principal owner and CEO of all three REITs during the time of the merger, while Block was the CFO and a minority shareholder.

The Commission contends that without their board’s permission, the REIT manager, Schorsch, and Block “inflated an incentive fee” during the mergers, which made it possible for them to get another $2.92M in ARCP operating partnership units as a portion of their “incentive-based” compensation.” The SEC is also accusing the three defendants of “wrongfully obtaining” at least $7.2M in charges that were not supported from the sale and asset purchase agreements that were related to the mergers.

Investors who lost money after investing in Aequitas Management LLC, which is accused of running a $350M Ponzi scam, have arrived at a $234M settlement in their fraud case against EisnerAmp LLP, Deloitte & Touche LLP, TD Ameritrade, Duff & Phelps, Sidley Austin LLP, Integrity Bank and Trust of Colorado, and Tonkon Torp. The defendants are accused of playing a part in the plaintiff’s losses because of their purported involvement in the sale of Aequitas securities.

More than 1,500 investors collectively invested over $350M in Aequitas securities while thinking that they were backing trade receivables in healthcare, education, transportation, and other areas. This investor fraud case, Ciuffitelli et al v. Deloitte & Touche LLP et al, was brought as a proposed class action and filed over three years ago by claimants in Oregon and California.

Based on a complaint brought also in 2016 by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Aequitas is accused of misleading investors about the extent their money became involved in for-profit education company Corinthian Colleges, which filed for bankruptcy in 2015. The regulator accused Aequitas of becoming a Ponzi scam after Corinthian failed, with the company continuing to sell securities for the purposes of paying back earlier investors and to support its executives’ expensive lifestyles.

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