Articles Posted in Securities Fraud

Collateral Yield Enhancement Strategy (CYES) Damages: SSEK Investigating Merrill Lynch Financial Advisor 

Shepherd Smith Edwards & Kantas (SSEK), a law firm specializing in representing wronged investors is looking into allegations against Gordon Harper, a financial advisor with Merrill Lynch out of Upper Montclair, New Jersey. Prior to that, he worked at Banc of America and Edward Jones. 

According to allegations in a recent Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. (FINRA) claim, Gordon Harper recommended something called Harvest Volatility Management CYES (also known as collateral yield enhancement strategy). Harvest is a money manager which, as the name implies, attempts to manage volatility. 

SSEK Investigating Ex-Commonwealth Financial Network Broker

SSEK Law Firm is meeting with investors who suffered losses while working with former Commonwealth Financial Network broker, Gerald Allan Eaton, or another financial representative from the firm. 

Eaton was recently barred by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in the wake of allegations that he fraudulently took money out of his clients’ accounts. Commonwealth fired him last month, claiming it had found that he’d engaged in “serious misconduct” that involved “fraudulently facilitated distributions” from accounts that were not for clients’ benefit and without letting them know or getting their permission. 

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has secured an asset freeze against three people and entities accused of operating a $125M offering fraud. The regulator contends that the international trading program, run by Mediatrix Capital, Inc. and its principals Michael Stewart, Michael Young, and Bryant Sewall, touted an algorithmic trading strategy that was supposedly “highly profitable,” had never experienced a month when it didn’t make money, and rendered over 1600% of returns.

The SEC contends that the reality was a very different story, with the trading strategy regularly losing money–over $18M from trading just in 2018. The Commission is accusing the defendants of the following:

    • Misrepresentations involving the trading strategy’s ability to make money

Ex-target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>LPL Financial (LPLA) broker, Kerry L. Hoffman, is now facing fraud charges brought by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Hoffman is accused of fraudulently selling $3.3M of unregistered securities, along with childhood friend Thomas V. Conwell, who is also a defendant in the civil case. The latter was barred by the regulator from the industry in 2000 after a separate $800K fraud that harmed 19 investors. Conwell pleaded guilty to criminal fraud charges against him and was sentenced to time in prison.

According to the SEC’s current complaint, the two men defrauded at least 46 investors in a dozen states by selling GT Media, Inc. securities to them. Hoffman was a registered LPL Financial broker during most of the time of the fraud, which allegedly took place between July 2015 and July 2018. He resigned from the firm in the wake of allegations that he served as consultant to GT Media without getting LPL’s approval or notifying the firm about these outside activities. He also was accused of helping a number of LPL clients and his own family members to invest in the company.

Hoffman allegedly offered and sold $350K of GT Media convertible promissory notes and $500K of the company’s stock to five advisory clients, making $50K in commissions. The Commission is accusing him of soliciting some of his advisory clients to invest in the unregistered securities but without letting them know that he had a conflict of interest. Not only was GT Media  paying him compensation, but also the company was paying back money he had let it using investors’ money.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission has filed fraud charges against Mark Suleymanov, who owns the options trading website SpotFN. According to the regulator, Suleymanov, who is a New York resident, defrauded retail investors of about $4M in a binary options scam that took place from at least 2012 to 2016.

Binary Options

Investor.gov describes a binary option as a kind of options contract upon which payout depends on a “yes/no proposition” outcome and typically involves whether a certain asset’s price will go over or under a set figure. Upon acquisition of the option, a holder no longer has to decide about exercising said binary option because they “exercise automatically.” The holder of a binary option is not entitled to sell or purchase the asset. Upon expiration of the binary option, the holder is given either a cash amount that was previously determined or nothing at all.

Legend Securities Ordered to Pay Client For Churning His Funds 

A Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) panel has awarded Herbert W. Voss $1.075M in his securities fraud case against Legend Securities Inc., its ex-chief compliance officer Frank Philip Fusco, and former Legend broker Danard Warthen Brown. Legend is no longer in operation and was expelled by the self-regulatory authority (SRO) in 2012.

Voss reportedly lost $375,000 while Legend was his brokerage firm. Of the more than $1M award granted to Voss, $700K is for punitive damages. His securities fraud lawyer contends that punitive damages were warranted because of how much turnover took place in Voss’s account.


Man Who Ran RMA Strategic Opportunity Fund Ponzi Scam Pleads Guilty

Raymond K. Montoya, a Boston hedge fund manager, has pleaded guilty to operating a multi-billion dollar Ponzi scam involving the RMA Strategic Opportunity Fund, LLC. Montoya pleaded guilty to multiple counts of mail fraud, wire fraud, and conducting an unlawful monetary transaction.

Montoya was charged and arrested last year. His victims included relatives, friends, and people he knew. They invested millions of dollar, including their savings and retirement funds.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission announced this week that Christopher Faulkner, a Texas businessman, will pay $23.8M to settle oil and gas charges involving an alleged over $80M securities scam that bilked hundreds of investors. Faulkner, who called himself the “Frack Master” and claimed to be an expert in hydraulic fracturing, is accused of setting up several companies and then selling interests in oil and gas prospects to investors in Texas and other US states.

The regulator contends that Faulkner:

  • “Systematically deceived” investors through offering materials that were “false and misleading.”

Man is Convicted in $2.2M Investment Fraud

A federal jury has convicted a Pennsylvania man on 16 counts of securities fraud, 12 counts of wire fraud, four counts of money laundering, one count of mail fraud, and one count of tax evasion in a $2.2M investment scam. Thomas H. Connerton is accused of defrauding 50 people, including several women that he met through online dating. He was the CEO, president, and founder of Safety Technologies, LLC.

Founded in 2006, Safety Technologies was supposed to develop and commercialize materials that were resistant to cuts and punctures and which could be used to make surgical gloves and related products. Starting in 2009, Connerton began persuading investors to buy securities in Safety Tech. The investments were not registered with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

26-Year Old Mayor is Arrested and Accused of Investor Fraud

Jasiel Correira, who is the mayor of Fall River, Massachusetts, has pleaded not guilty to multiple criminal counts of wire fraud and tax fraud. The 26-year-old was arrested this week following allegations that he defrauded investors of over $230K.

Correira maintains that the investor fraud allegations are false. He refuses to step down as city mayor.

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