Investors in unregistered Woodbridge First Position Commercial Mortgages (“FPCMs”) notes and/or units upon the recommendation of former financial advisor Jerry Davis Raines (CRD# 4578689, hereinafter “Raines”) may be able to recover losses in arbitration before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”). According to FINRA BrokerCheck, a number of investors have already filed claims against Mr. Raines in connection with allegations surrounding Mr. Raines’ alleged recommendation of unsuitable Woodbridge investments to customers. Mr. Raines was most recently affiliated with HD Vest Investment Services (CRD# 13686, hereinafter “HD Vest”) from 2014 – May 2017. Previous to that, Mr. Raines was affiliated with Signal Securities, Inc. (CRD#15916) and Woodmen Financial Services, Inc. (CRD# 117365).
As recently reported, the Woodbridge Group of Companies, LLC (“Woodbridge”) of Sherman Oaks, CA, and certain of its affiliated entities, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on December 4, 2017 (U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware – Case No. 17-12560-KJC). The SEC has alleged that Woodbridge, through its owner and former CEO, Mr. Robert Shapiro, purportedly utilized “more than 275 Limited Liability Companies to conduct a massive Ponzi scheme raising more than $1.22 billion from over 8,400 unsuspecting investors nationwide through fraudulent unregistered securities offerings.”
Beginning as early as 2012, Woodbridge and its affiliates offered securities nationwide to numerous retail investors through a network of in-house promoters, as well as various licensed and unlicensed financial advisors. Woodbridge investments came in two primary forms: (1) “Units” that consisted of subscriptions agreements for the purchase of an equity interest in one of Woodbridge’s seven Delaware limited liability companies, and (2) “Notes” or what have commonly been referred to as “First Position Commercial Mortgages” or “FPCMs” consisting of lending agreements underlying purported hard money loans on real estate deals.