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Investment attorneys turn their eyes to Bank of America once again, only two months into the New Year. Bank of America Corp. has been subpoenaed by William Gavin, the Massachusetts securities regulator, over LCM VII Ltd. and Bryn Mawr CLO II Ltd., two related collateralized loan obligations. These two CLOs led to investor losses totaling $150 million. The subpoena will, hopefully, help authorities in determining if Bank of America knew it was overvaluing the assets of the portfolios. Both Bryn Mawr and LCM were sold in 2007, prior to the 2008 merger between Bank of America Securities and Merrill Lynch.

News: Bank of America Faces More Allegations In 2012

Bank of America held commercial loans from small banks amounting to around $400 million in 2006. In 2007, securities packages were put together from these loans and then sold to investors. The subpoena arrives only one day after Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase & Co., Wells Fargo & Co., Citigroup Inc. and Ally Financial Inc. settled allegations of engaging in abusive mortgage practices. These abusive practices included engaging in deceptive practices in the offering of loan modifications, a failure to offer other options before closing on borrowers with federally insured mortgages, submitting improper documents to the bankruptcy court and robo-signing foreclosure documents without proper review of the paperwork.

The settlement amounted to $25 billion and involved federal agencies plus authorities in 49 states. This settlement is designed to give $2,000 to around 750 borrowers whose homes were foreclosed upon after the home values dropped 33 percent from their 2006 worth, and to provide mortgage relief. In addition, all five banks will pay $766.5 million in penalties to the Federal Reserve. This is considered to be the biggest federal-state settlement ever. Bank of America will also pay $1 billion to settle allegations that it, together with its Countrywide Financial unit, engaged in fraudulent and wrongful conduct.

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On January 27, 2012, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) issued an Investor Alert warning investors of fraudsters compromising investor email accounts to send trading instructions as a way to commit fraud. According to FINRA, fraudsters will use the email account to gain access to information that they can then use to request wire transfers to overseas accounts. Because this form of fraud can be committed by stock brokers and traders, stock broker fraud attorneys are encouraging defrauded investors to come forward with potential claims.

Broker Misconduct: Illegal Transfer of Funds Through Email Hacks

In some cases, firms failed to verify the instructions via telephone but released the funds anyway. This violation in procedure may entitle defrauded investors to a recovery of losses through securities arbitration. According to the SEC, four brokerage firms have been charged for allowing traders to trade in the U.S. securities market, despite the fact that they were unregistered. In the same case, Igors Nagaicevs, a trader, was charged with making $874,896 through unauthorized purchases and sales. He also broke into accounts 159 times from 2009 to August 2010. According to the SEC, he cost investors possibly over $2 million.

“Nagaicevs engaged in a brazen and systematic securities fraud, repeatedly raiding brokerage accounts and causing massive damages to innocent investors,” says the director of the SEC’s San Francisco regional office, Marc J. Fagel.

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