More Claimants Accuse Broker Yoko Farias of Overconcentration In Obscure, Offshore Investment
An older couple from Japan has filed a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) arbitration claim requesting between $500K and $1M in financial recovery over losses sustained in Northstar Financial Services (Bermuda). The respondents are Bankoh Investment Services and its registered representative Yoko K. Farias in Hawaii.
The investors contend that Bankoh and Farias allegedly abused their trust by overconcentrating a considerable amount of their assets in Northstar (Bermuda), which is now defunct and in liquidation proceedings. Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas (SSEK Law Firm at investorlawyers.com) represent these claimants in FINRA arbitration in the United States.
Couple Were Inexperienced Investors Who Sought Low Risk, Safe Haven For Assets
The investors, who are from and live in Japan, opened a US-based account with the Bank of Hawaii, intending to keep their assets safe. Through this bank, they were introduced to Farias and affiliate broker-dealer Bankoh Investment Services. The couple entrusted their savings to them.
Yoko Farias then allegedly persuaded them to invest their money in Northstar Financial Services (Bermuda) even though these two investors were looking for capital preservation, had limited investing knowledge, and possessed a low-risk tolerance level. Bankoh even promised the couple safe returns and that their accounts would be set up for guaranteed principal protection. Instead, they suffered huge losses.
Also, whenever the claimants’ two contracts would expire, Farias purportedly would recommend a new term. These contracts paid about 2% yearly for a five-year period. (The latest terms were December 2016 for $230K and March 2017 for $340K.) That is a lot of money to concentrate on an obscure, offshore entity that was unrated and lacked the kinds of protections that come with US-based investments.
Bankoh Investment Services Broker Allegedly Never Apprised Claimants of Indictment, Regulatory Woes
In 2018, Global Bankers acquired Northstar (Bermuda). In 2019, billionaire owner Greg Lindberg was indicted for crimes. In 2020, he was convicted of wire fraud and bribery.
Lindberg allegedly used his different insurance and annuity companies to funnel money to his other entities, including US-based special purpose vehicles under his control. After his criminal indictment, Northstar Financial Services (Bermuda) investors tried to get their investments liquidated.
Unfortunately, the company could no longer repay redemption or liquidation requests. It reportedly has an over $260M deficit and, in September 2020, could report only $8M in assets. Later that year, this offshore company and related entities filed for bankruptcy protection.
Meanwhile, Yoko Farias allegedly never bothered to keep these two Japanese investors abreast of these developments. In their FINRA arbitration claim, the claimants allege misrepresentations and omissions, unsuitability, negligence, gross lack of supervision, and other claims.
It is important to note that this is not a hindsight case. Bankoh Investment Services and Farias, who has worked with the brokerage firm for two decades, had fair warning as far back as 2011 when Moody’s gave an extremely negative outlook for Bermuda as a place for investments.
By the end of 2018 and 2019, Northstar Financial Services (Bermuda) had not submitted vital documentation, including statutory financial statements and returns, capital and solvency returns, declarations of compliance, and certificates of compliance.
There is no reason these two investors should have been exposed to, let alone overconcentrated in, Northstar (Bermuda). Bankoh should have reviewed these customers’ accounts and products for compliance and removed them from this investment long ago.
Seasoned Northstar Financial Services (Bermuda) Attorneys
Our Northstar (Bermuda) investment law firm represents dozens of investors, including foreign nationals from all over the world, in FINRA arbitration against the brokerage firms who sold Northstar Financial Services (Bermuda) products. These firms appear to have prioritized earning high commissions over recommending and selling products that were in their clients’ best interests. This investor case is one of several we have already filed against Bankoh Investment Services and broker YokoFarias.
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