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Articles Posted in Current Investigations

Ex-Prime Automotive Group CEO Accused Alternative Asset Firm of Running Massive Ponzi Scam 

A Massachusetts Superior Court judge says the majority of the lawsuit filed by former Prime Automotive Group CEO, David Rosenberg, can move forward. Rosenberg, in his complaint, claims that he was fired and retaliated against after he accused the parent company, GPB Capital Holdings, of financial misconduct. 

The alternative asset firm is under investigation over allegations that it ran an over $1.5B Ponzi scam that defrauded thousands of investors. Its many GPB funds have dropped significantly in value and investor redemptions were suspended more than two years ago. 

Retail Investors Make Stock Market History

The week of January 25, 2021, saw a remarkable market event where retail investors bid up the price of a handful of stocks in an attempt to force a “short-squeeze” on major Wall Street hedge funds.  When an investor “shorts” a stock, which is a bet the stock is going to go down in price, the investor borrows the shares and then sells them at the existing price.  If the share price goes down, the investors will “cover” the short by buying at the lower price to return the borrowed shares, capturing the difference between what the investor sold the shares at and the cost to buy the shares back in order to return them.  Conversely, if the stock price goes up, the investor has to buy the shares at a high price than what the investor received when they were sold in order to return the borrowed share and loses the difference on the short play.

When shorting a stock, since the investor does not own the stock, the investor’s position is done on margin, that is, using credit from the brokerage firm.  As the value of the stock increases, the margin balance increases.  In such a situation, an investor can receive a “margin call”, where the brokerage firm forces the investor to close the position.  In a margin call from a short position, that means forcing the investor to buy the stock, regardless of the price, which is when there is this short-squeeze.

Ex-LPL Broker Marketed Non-Traded Investments To Mississippi Retiree 

A retired investor has filed a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) arbitration claim against LPL Financial and its former broker, Tamber King Proctor, seeking up to $100K in damages. 

The claimant contends that LPL Financial and Proctor should have never recommended that he invest in the business development company (BDC), FS Energy & Power Fund (FSEP), and the Northstar Healthcare Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT). 

Florida-Based Financial Management Company Employee Allegedly Stole Money 

Albertín Aroldis Chapman de la Cruz, the star relief pitcher for the New York Yankees, has filed an investment fraud lawsuit against Pro Management Resources and several individuals. The financial management and tax planning company reportedly has also been serving as Chapman’s business manager for almost a decade. Now, the MLB pitcher is accusing the company of stealing $3M.

Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas (SSEK Law Firm at investorlawyers.com) represent investors in Florida that have suffered investment losses due to broker and financial fraud or negligence. Contact us at (813) 560-2992 or by using our online contact form so that we can help you explore your legal options.

Risky, Illiquid Business Development Company Was Not Suitable for Many Investors

If you are someone who invested in the Sierra Income Corporation, you may have lost money. This business development company (BDC) is a non-traded investment. 

Earlier this year, Sierra Income suffered losses after its announced merger with Medley Capital Corp. and Medley Management Inc. was terminated because of the economic uncertainty caused by COVID-19. Not long after that, the company announced that it was suspending monthly redistributions.

High Net Worth Individual Investor Alleges That UBS Group AG Persuaded Him To Buy On Margin 

Guo Wengui, a rich Chinese businessman exiled in New York, has filed a lawsuit against UBS Financial Group after losing $500M. 

Wengui contends that the bank pressured him into borrowing funds to invest in shares of Haitong Securities, Co., a brokerage firm in China. This high net worth institutional investor alleges that in 2015, UBS forced the stock’s sale during both a 45% drop in Haitong’s shares, which were traded in Hong Kong and a market route. Guo said that he lost his entire investment.

Ex-Concorde Investment Services Broker Allegedly Made Negligent Recommendations 

Robert Scott Smith, the President of Peregrine Private Capital in Newberg, Oregon, and a former Concorde Investment Services, is named in multiple Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) arbitration claims by former customers that invested in GPB private placement funds at his recommendation. 

GPB Capital Holdings is accused of running a $1.8B Ponzi scam. Smith is one of a number of Concorde Investment Services brokers who sold this alternative asset firm’s private placements to customers. 

Investment Advisor Allegedly Defrauded Senior Investors to Fund Lavish Lifestyle

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has filed charges against Mark Joseph Boucher, a California-based investment adviser, and his firm, Strategic Wealth Advisor Group Services. 

Boucher and Strategic Wealth Advisor Group are accused of stealing $2.2M from older customers, including one who had died. Now, the regulator wants permanent injunctions, civil penalties, and disgorgement with prejudgment interest.

Pending Customer Complaints Seek $250K and $1M, Respectively

If you or someone you love lost money while working with stockbroker Walter Roland Valenzuela, our investor attorneys want to speak with you. 

Valenzuela, who became a Kestra Investment Services broker this year, has been the subject of 10 customer complaints during his 27 years in the industry. The latest claim, brought in June, alleges elder abuse, misrepresentation, excessive trading, and unsuitable investment recommendations. The customer is seeking $250K in damages. 

FINRA Bars Ex-Registered Rep, Who Wouldn’t Cooperate In Investigation 

Christopher Duke Bennett, an ex-Hilliard Lyons broker, is barred by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). Bennett has been the subject of 15 numerous securities fraud customer disputes over the years. 

The bar comes after he refused to cooperate in the self-regulatory organization’s (SRO’s) probe that was opened in the wake of several people accusing him of unauthorized trading and making unsuitable investment recommendations. Bennett also is no longer a registered investment adviser.

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