If you invested in Woodbridge upon the recommendation of former financial advisor Frank Roland Dietrich (“Dietrich”), you may be able to recover your losses in arbitration before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”). According to FINRA BrokerCheck, a number of investors have already filed claims against Mr. Dietrich and his former employer, broker-dealer Quest Capital Strategies, Inc. (“Quest Capital”) (CRD# 16783). Publicly available information suggests that Quest Capital has disavowed any prior knowledge of Mr. Dietrich’s alleged business activity conducted away form the firm in selling purportedly non-approved Woodbridge investments. Nevertheless, Mr. Dietrich’s alleged “selling away” activity, to the extent it may have occurred while he was still affiliated with Quest Capital, may give rise to Quest Capital being held vicariously liable for the negligence and/or misconduct of its former employee.
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.
Brokerage firms like Quest Capital have a duty to ensure that their registered representatives are adequately supervised. Consequently, brokerage firms must take reasonable steps to ensure that their brokers follow all applicable securities rules and regulations, as well as adhere to the firm’s internal policies and procedures. In those instances when brokerage firms fail to adequately supervise their registered representatives, they may be held liable for losses sustained by investors.
In the event that a financial advisor wishes to consummate a private securities transaction, then he or she must first provide the firm with prior written notice, detailing the contemplated transaction. Such a transaction must first be approved by the firm. If such a transaction is not approved by the firm, then the broker cannot participate in the transaction. In instances where a broker fails to notify the firm of the contemplated transaction, in the first instance, or proceeds with an unauthorized transaction in derogation of the firm’s directive to the contrary, then selling away has occurred, in direct violation of FINRA Rule 3280.
The attorneys at Law Office of Christopher J. Gray, P.C. have significant experience representing investors in disputes involving broker misconduct, including selling away claims, in addition to claims against brokerage firms for their failure to supervise. Investors may contact a securities arbitration attorney via the contact form on this website, by telephone at (866) 966-9598, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org for a no-cost, confidential consultation.