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Articles Posted in California

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Investment fraud lawyers are currently investigating claims on behalf of investors who suffered significant losses as a result of doing business with Surevest Capital Management and employees of the firm.

Alleged Unsuitable Recommendations of Non-Traded REITs by Surevest Others

Allegedly, Surevest invested some of its clients in high-risk portfolios, allocating very little of these accounts into traditionally low-risk investments. These high-risk investments allegedly included equities, non-traded REITs and other private placement securities. Some Surevest clients have raised allegations asserting that the high-risk investment recommendations were unsuitable and implemented regardless of the age, risk tolerance and other considerations of the investors. 

According to securities arbitration lawyers, firms have an obligation to fully disclose all the risks of a given investment when making recommendations, and those recommendations must be suitable for the individual investor receiving the recommendation given their age, investment objectives, and risk tolerance. Non-traded REITs are inherently risky and illiquid, which limits access of funds to investors and makes them unsuitable for many individuals with conservative risk tolerances as well as those who need easy access to funds. Other private placements and equities also carry significant risks.

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Stock fraud lawyers are currently investigating claims on behalf of investors who suffered significant losses in several TNP-sponsored investments, including the TNP 2008 Participating Notes Program LLC, sold by Berthel Fisher & Co. Financial Services Inc. and other full-service brokerage firms. Reportedly, around $26 million was raised from investors in total for the TNP 2008 Participating Notes Program and, though Berthel Fisher acted as the underwriter for the deal, the investment was also sold by other broker-dealers.

Investors Could Recover Losses for TNP-Sponsored Investments

According to the allegations made by one investor, Berthel Fisher failed to make the proper disclosures and perform adequate due diligence regarding the TNP 2008 Participating Notes Program. A complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa on July 8, which stated, “Berthel Fisher had actual knowledge of the misrepresentations and omission in the 2008 [private-placement memorandum] and failed to investigate red flags that pointed to other misrepresentations and omissions.”

The deal’s sponsor, Thompson National Properties LLC, and chief executive Tony Thompson have also been under investigation by securities arbitration lawyers for the TNP Strategic Retail Trust Inc., a non-traded REIT, and the TNP 12% Notes Program. Allegedly, the TNP Strategic Retail Trust was recommended to many investors for which it was unsuitable, given their age, risk tolerances and investment objectives. Reportedly, the 12% Notes Program, which was designed to raise capital for tenant-in-common real estate operations, suspended interest payments to investors and was in danger of defaulting on two loans.

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On April 2, 2013, a federal judge rejected Wells Fargo & Co.’s request to dismiss investors’ class action against it. These investors suffered investment losses in Medical Capital Holdings Inc.-issued notes. In addition to the class action, many investors are choosing to file an individual securities arbitration claim with the help of a securities fraud attorney.

Title of the Post Goes Here

U.S. District Court for the Central District of California judge David Carter denied in part Wells Fargo’s motion for summary judgment, allowing some of the claims made by investors to move forward.

Medical Capital is a medical-receivables company that was charged with fraud by the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2009 and subsequently went under. Since 2003, Wells Fargo has issued almost $2.2 billion in Medical Capital Holdings notes. The Medical Capital’s court-appointed receiver had, as of February, recovered $157.5 million for investors, but over $1 billion in unpaid principal is yet outstanding. Stock fraud lawyers hope to get that money back for their clients through the class action or individual FINRA securities arbitration claims.

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Securities fraud attorneys are currently investigating claims on behalf of investors who suffered significant losses as a result of their investment with Ray Lucia Sr. and his affiliated broker-dealers. Reportedly, the Securities and Exchange Commission has charged Lucia and his company, formerly known as Raymond J. Lucia Companies Inc. (RJL), for using misleading information at a series of investment seminars when soliciting for his “Buckets of Money” strategy.

Customers of Ray Lucia, Sr. Could Recover Losses through Arbitration, Following SEC Allegations

According to the allegations issued by the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, Lucia claimed that this wealth management strategy had been thoroughly “backtested” over real bear market periods. He allegedly made these claims while promoting Buckets of Money at seminars where he presented a lengthy slideshow indicating that retires would receive inflation-adjusted income while protecting and increasing savings through his wealth management program. In truth, however, despite publicly made claims, little, if any, backtesting was done by RJL and Lucia on the Buckets of Money strategy.

These seminars were held in hopes of obtaining advisory clients, according to the SEC’s order which instituted administrative proceedings against RJL and Lucia. These clients would then be charged advisory services fees. Lucia’s radio show and personal and company website promoted the seminars.

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Investment fraud lawyers are currently investigating potential claims on behalf of the investors of Western Financial Planning Corp., based in San Diego. Reportedly, Western Financial Planning has been accused by the Securities and Exchange Commission of running a real estate investment scam. The alleged scam raised around $50 million from hundreds of investors around the nation.

Louis V. Schooler and Western Financial Planning Accused of Investment Scam by SEC

Early this month, a temporary asset freeze against the financial planning firm and Louis V. Schooler, the firm’s owner, was obtained by the SEC. Securities arbitration lawyers say the SEC’s allegations state that Schooler and Western Financial sold units in partnerships, organized by Western, for the purchase of vacant land located in Nevada. Reportedly, the land would then be held to be sold at a later date for a profit.

According to the SEC’s claims, Western neglected to tell investors that they (the investors) would be paying outrageous mark-ups on the land. Investment fraud lawyers say that in some cases, mark-ups amounted to over five times the fair market value of the land. Furthermore, allegations state that Schooler failed to tell investors that the initial land purchase was financed by mortgages, which later encumbered the property.

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Securities fraud attorneys are currently investigating claims on behalf of victims of James Ryan Lanier, a financial advisor for Merrill Lynch. Reportedly, Lanier was arrested on fraud, identity theft and money laundering related to embezzlement. Allegedly, Lanier, 33, embezzled over $800,000 from Merrill Lynch clients and was arrested in San Diego, California.

Defrauded Investors of James Ryan Lanier, Recently Arrested Merrill Lynch Financial Advisor, Could Recover Losses

According to the allegations listed in the 65-count indictment against Lanier, while he was working for Merrill Lynch as a financial advisor between 2008 and 2010, Lanier forged client signatures on fraudulent letters of authorization to Merrill Lynch client associates. These client associates were responsible for processing client funds through wire transfers. Purportedly, these letters also contained misleading and false statements that were intended to persuade the client associates to transfer funds from the investment accounts of clients to bank accounts under Lanier’s control.

According to the indictment, stock fraud lawyers say that Lanier deliberately sought out assistance from client associates who were not familiar with his clients to direct funds transfers. Lanier allegedly claimed Merrill Lynch clients had given voice approval on a recorded telephone conversation, though no such approval was given. Choosing client associates who were unfamiliar with his clients aided Lanier in his scheme.

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Securities fraud attorneys are currently investigating claims on behalf of investors who suffered significant losses as a result of their investments in Cypress Leasing private placements. Based in San Francisco, California, Cypress Financial Corporation is an equipment leasing company. The company’s website states that Cypress’s investments are in long-lived core equipment assets and that these assets are vital to the energy, industrial and transportation sectors. 

Private Placement Loss Recovery: Cypress Leasing

Private placements have been offered by Cypress Leasing, which were then offered and sold by certain broker-dealers registered with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. Reportedly, the market decline of 2008 impacted the equipment leasing business and, as a result, many of the Cypress Leasing private placements may have experienced a decline in value. It is believed that the following offerings are included in these criteria:

  • CypressEquipment Fund 13
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Securities fraud attorneys are currently investigating potential claims on behalf of investors who suffered losses as a result of their Facebook Inc. investments with Fidelity Investments. Allegedly there may have been execution problems at Fidelity Investments in regards to the Facebook stock. Reportedly, following Facebook’s initial public offering, “thousands” of clients of Fidelity were affected by trading issues.

Fidelity Investors Could Recover Losses Resulting from Facebook Stock

According to investment fraud lawyers, many Fidelity investors have learned that their Facebook stock orders were not executed at previously expected prices. In addition, some Fidelity investors decided to cancel their Facebook stock orders prior to the time it began trading, on May 18 at 11:30 am, but the stock was allegedly assigned to their accounts anyway. Many investors were confronted with margin calls that were unexpected because of Fidelity’s failure to honor the canceled orders. Securities fraud attorneys say this exacerbated the situation.

In a related case, Facebook Inc., Morgan Stanley and other banks are being sued by Facebook’s shareholders. The shareholders claimed Facebook’s weakened growth forecasts were hidden by the defendants prior to its $16 billion IPO. According to the complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan, changes in the business forecast during the IPO process were only “selectively disclosed by defendants to certain preferred investors.” The complaint alleges that “the value of Facebook common stock has declined substantially and plaintiffs and the class have sustained damages as a result.” A similar lawsuit was filed by another investor in a California state court. In the first three days of trading, Facebook shares declined 18.4 percent, reducing the stock’s value by more than $2.9 billion.

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Investment fraud lawyers are currently investigating claims on behalf of investors who suffered losses as a result of their purchases of SCI Real Estate Investments LLC’s TICs. In some cases, brokerage firms may be held liable for their recommendation of the investment to their clients.

Investors of SCI Real Estate Investment TICs Could Recover Losses

According to securities fraud attorneys, TICs became popular in 2002, following a ruling by the Internal Revenue Service that allowed capital gains to be deferred by investors. In this property ownership, a fractional interest is owned by two or more parties. However, following the real estate crisis, TICs saw a significant decline in value. For more information on TICs, see the previous blog post, “TICs Dangerous for Many Investors.”

SCI Real Estate Investments is a United States real estate company that acquires retail and multi-family properties. It offers co-ownership interests in these United States properties as investments to individual buyers of real estate and 1031 exchanges. SCI is based in Los Angeles and was founded in 1994. A voluntary petition for reorganization was filed by SCI on February 11, 2011, under Chapter 11 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California. The firm’s liquidation plan confirmation hearing is scheduled for June 13, 2012.

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There has been a recent series of Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) securities arbitration rulings in which panels have sided with investors who sustained losses because of TIC exchanges. TIC, or tenant-in-common, investments involve tax-deferred exchanges of property ownership interests. In the majority of these arbitration awards, the sale of TICs, along with other products, came from DBSI Inc. DBSI raised almost $1 billion from around 140 separate deals prior to its bankruptcy declaration in 2008.

Investors Recovering TIC Investment Losses Through Securities Arbitration

Securities Arbitration Commentator research and InvestmentNews reports indicate that $12.6 million in cases involving DBSI’s direct broker-dealer sales of TICs have been filed with FINRA.

LPL Financial LLC has also faced a FINRA panel because of TIC investments. Heinrich and Araceli Hardt, both 76 from San Diego, California, purchased two TIC exchanges from David Glenn, an LPL broker. According to the Hardts’ allegations, LPL and Glenn’s broker misconduct included elder abuse and securities fraud. On February 10, the FINRA panel awarded the Hardts $1.4 million. Claims were also filed on behalf of the Hardts against Orchard Securities LLC and Meridian Capital Partners. However, the claims against Meridian Capital and Orchard Securities were dismissed by the Hardts in December.

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