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Articles Tagged with Woodbridge Morgtgage Investment Funds

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woodbridge mortgage fundsAs recently discussed in our blog, on Monday, December 4, the Woodbridge Group of Companies, LLC (“Woodbridge”) of Sherman Oaks, CA, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Delaware Bankruptcy Court (Case No. 17-12560-KJC).  Woodbridge has asserted that a restructuring of its debt was necessary due to increased operating and development costs, in addition to expenses associated with ongoing litigation and regulatory compliance.  As we have discussed in several previous blog posts, Woodbridge continues to face considerable regulatory scrutiny in connection with allegations of offering and selling unregistered securities, in addition to allegations of possible misconduct by Woodbridge and its President, Robert Shapiro.

As reported on December 6, Woodbridge’s First Day Motions in Delaware Bankruptcy Court (“Motions”) were successful.  The Bankruptcy Court issued certain interim authorizations to help ensure Woodbridge’s ability to continue operations in the ordinary course during its restructuring process.  For instance, the Bankruptcy Court approved Woodbridge’s request to access debtor-in-possession (“DIP”) financing through a California private direct lender specializing in real estate debt investments, Hankey Capital, LLC (“Hankey”).

This DIP financing, combined with cash on hand generated by Woodbridge’s operations, is intended to support continued business operations during the restructuring process.  In signing off of on Woodbridge’s request to borrow $6 million for a day through its DIP financing, Judge Kevin Casey indicated “The request here is a relatively modest one.”  In addition to receiving approval on its initial DIP financing request, Woodbridge also received approval for, among other things, cash to pay employee salaries and benefits.

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woodbridge mortgage fundsIf you are have invested in Woodbridge Wealth or in any of the Woodbridge Mortgage Funds, you may have questions concerning your rights in light of Woodbridge’s recent bankruptcy filing.

Investors who purchased Woodbridge FPCMs through a stockbroker or financial advisor may have viable FINRA arbitration claims if the brokerage firm did not perform adequate due diligence before recommending the Woodbridge investment.  Law Office of Christopher J. Gray, P.C. offers a confidential, no-obligation consultation to Woodbridge investors.

Woodbridge Wealth, a California-based firm, sells structured financial products to investors, often through intermediary brokers.   Woodbridge has reportedly raised over $1 billion by selling investors instruments known as First Position Commercial Mortgages (“FPCMs”). The Woodbridge Funds advertise that their management team’s substantial experience lets them maintain a successful lending model and find lending opportunities that are favorable for investors. Investors do not have any role other than providing money. An FPCM consists of a promissory note from a Woodbridge Fund, a loan agreement, and a non-exclusive assignment of the Woodbridge Fund’s security interest in the mortgage for the underlying hard-money loan. The Woodbridge Funds pool money from multiple investors for each hard-money loan. The Woodbridge Funds’ promissory notes effectively guarantee the underlying hard-money loans, and the Woodbridge Funds’ advertising materials state that the Woodbridge Funds are obligated to make payments to FPCM investors even if the hard-money borrower defaults.

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Money Flies The President of a California group of companies known as Woodbridge that has previously been accused of selling unregistered securities by state securities regulators, Robert Shapiro, has reportedly invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).  A March 27, 2017 letter to the SEC from Shapiro’s attorney Ryan O’Quinn, Esq., reportedly stated that “Upon consideration of the SEC’s investigative subpoenas and a review with counsel of the individual rights afforded by the United States Constitution, Mr. Shapiro will rely on his constitutional privilege to refuse to be a witness against himself.”

Woodbridge Wealth, a California-based firm, is a successor company to Woodbridge Structured Funding, LLC, and sells structured financial products to investors, often through intermediary brokers.   These sales have resulted in certain actions by state regulators. For example, in April of 2017, the Pennsylvania Bureau of Securities Compliance and Examinations entered into an agreement with Woodbridge Wealth, to settle allegations of securities industry misconduct arising out of sales of complex structured settlement products that Pennsylvania regulators alleged were unregistered securities.  In another example, in May of 2016, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) suspended Frank John Capuano (CRD#: 844182), a registered broker from western Massachusetts, after he was alleged to have improperly sold Woodbridge Wealth notes to investors while employed as a registered representative of Royal Alliance Associates in Holyoke, Massachusetts.  Finally, in May of 2015, Massachusetts state regulators charged a non-registered individual named Charles Nilosek and his firm, Position Benefits, LLC, with fraud. These charges were brought bssed on the regulators’ allegations that the firm was marketing and selling unregistered securities to vulnerable elderly investors. These complex securities were allegedly sold to retirees as having a guaranteed return, but in fact were complex unregistered securities with no guaranteed return and the potential to create substantial principal losses.

Woodbridge, based in California, has reportedly raised over $1 billion from investors.  Despite the regulatory actions, Woodbridge reportedly continues to sell securities. Some of the issuers of Woodbridge securities are the following:

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