Articles Posted in REITs

Preferred Apartment Communities Investors Pay High Commissions

Throughout the United States, our non-traded real estate investment trust (REIT) attorneys at Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas (SSEK Law Firm) are speaking to investors whose registered brokers or investment advisors persuaded them to invest in Preferred Apartment Communities, which is a non-traded REIT. 

This investment has paid stockbrokers up to 7% commission and comes with additional fees, including around 4-5% in brokerage firm fees and offering costs. 

Former First Allied Securities Rep. Accused of Inappropriate REIT Recommendations

Our investor lawyers at Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas (SSEK Law Firm) are looking into claims by clients of former First Allied Securities stockbroker Shlomo Strugano. Strugano was barred by the Financial Industry Regulatory (FINRA) earlier this month.

Strugano, also known as Shlomy Strugano, is based in California. He has been the subject of at least four customer disputes, two of which are still pending. The ex-stockbroker is accused, among other things, of making inappropriate recommendations involving real estate investment trusts (REITS) to customers.

NEXT Financial Group Sold Unsuitable REITs To Investors, Including Older Seniors 

If you were an investor who suffered losses in Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) that were recommended and sold to you by a NEXT Financial Group broker, Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas (SSEK Law Firm) wants to talk to you. 

The Houston-based independent brokerage firm was recently fined $150K by the Massachusetts Securities Division for selling REITs to investors even when these investments were not suitable for them. 

Centaurus Financial Broker Named In Multiple Customer Disputes 

If you suffered substantial investment losses while Centaurus Financial broker, Katherine Nishnic, was your registered representative, please contact Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas, LLP (SSEK Law Firm). We can help you determine whether you have grounds for a broker fraud case. According to her BrokerCheck record, Nishnic is already the subject of at least eight customer disputes

She has been in the industry for 25 years and a Centaurus broker for four years. Previous to that, Nishnic was registered as a broker for JP Turner and before that with GunnAllen Financial, First Allied Securities, DE Frey & Co., Merrill Lynch and Pierce Fenner and Smith.  

Nicholas Schorsch’s former real estate investment trust (REIT) American Realty Capital Properties Inc. (ARCP) has arrived at a $1B settlement with investors who sued over the company’s accounting scandal that led to inflated financial results five years ago. Now called Vereit, the REIT will pay $738.5M of the class action securities fraud settlement, while Schorsch’s American Realty Capital (AR Capital) will pay $225M. American Realty Capital Property’s ex-CFO Brian Block will pay $12.5M of the settlement. Meantime, Grant Thornton, the firm’s auditor during the period of the scandal, will pay $49M.

American Realty Capital Properties admitted to a $23M accounting error in late 2014. After ARCP restated its financials, investors sold their shares, causing a $3B drop in the REIT’s value. At one point, ARCP held $20B in assets.

Investors sued, accusing the REIT of incorrectly stating financials so as to spur acquisitions and inflate financial results. Two years ago, Block pleaded guilty to securities fraud related to the accounting misstatements.

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.

Trouble is brewing with a number of nontraded real estate investment trusts (REITs) and now, investors are filing claims for their losses. One of the REITs, NorthStar Healthcare Income, Inc., suspended distributions to investors on February 1.

Closed to new subscriptions since December 2015, the publicly registered REIT was set up to acquire, originate, and oversee securities in the healthcare industry. Northstar told investors that challenges involving performance and operations had resulted in a reduced estimated value/share in 2018 compared to 2017—from an $8.50 NAV/share at the end of June 2017 to $7.10 NAV/share in December 2018.

The nontraded REIT’s board cited a number of reasons for the decrease: a cash flow affected by the senior housing market, labor costs related to the investments that have impacted the REIT’s portfolio, more cash flow issues—this one impacting the skilled nursing industry—and assets’ income losses.

A Financial Industry Regulatory Authority arbitration panel has awarded eight retirement investors $1,019,211 in a Texas real estate investment trust case involving three United Development Funding (UDF) REITs. United Development Funding is made up of private and publicly traded investment funds that use investor money to give loans to land developers and homebuilders.

According to the claimants, IMS Securities, a Houston-based brokerage firm that is no longer in operation, and its chief executive Jackie Divono Wadsworth recommended through a third party that investors purchase retirement accounts in the:

  • United Development Funding II


SII Investments to Pay Back Clients Over Nontraded REITs

Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin is ordering SII Investments Inc. to repay clients who purchased non-traded real estate investment trusts through the independent brokerage firm. According to Galvin’s office, SII did not properly supervise these transactions.

It was last year that the Massachusetts regulator filed charges against SII, accusing the financial firm of failure to supervise and “dishonest or unethical conduct” related to non-traded REIT sales made to state residents. Galvin accused the broker-dealer of inflating the liquid net worth of clients by counting their annuities as liquid assets rather than non-liquid ones.

Investors who placed their funds in the Texas-based United Development Funding IV real estate investment trust are asking a federal judge to approve a $13.5M REIT fraud settlement they’d reached with the company over the allegations that it had been run like a Ponzi-like scam and concealed this. The plaintiffs contend that UDV IV and its affiliates not only made false statements but also they did not disclose material facts involving business and operations.

They brought their REIT fraud case against the UDF companies three years ago, accusing the defendants of using investors’ funds from newer offering to pay investors who had gotten involved in earlier offerings. The investors, who want class certification, alleged that disclosures they were offered were misleading and lending practices lacked transparency.

Both sides eventually arrived at the $13.5M settlement—$10.5M in cash and another $3M once the REIT hits its $75M cash flow target in two years. This deal is separate from a settlement the plaintiffs reached with UDF accountants, as well as those that underwrote and sold the allegedly fraudulent offerings.

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