Securities fraud attorneys scored a win for investors in FINRA arbitration against a unit of Citigroup Inc. in a FINRA ruling on September 5. The arbitration panel ordered Citigroup to pay investors losses amounting to $1.4 million. These losses were associated with a municipal bond steeped in derivative securities that were very risky — yet the bond was, allegedly, marketed as “safe” to the investor.
New York City investor Margaret Hill filed the case in 2011 and requested over $3.5 million in damages. Her losses were a result of Citi’s Rochester Municipal Fund. Investment fraud lawyers say Hill’s case alleged that she was sold unsuitable investments by Citigroup Global Markets Inc. which, in addition, misrepresented facts.
According to the allegations against Citigroup, Hill bought the Rochester Fund as an alternative to her individual municipal bond funds because Citigroup said it would pay more interest and would be a “safe” alternative to her funds at that time. However, the Rochester Fund reportedly consisted primarily of tobacco bonds and risky derivative securities. After purchasing the bond in 2007, Hill sold the funds in 2009, suffering losses amounting to $2.9 million.