James Arnold Busch was an employee at Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC from 2000 to October 2013. He worked out of various branch offices in Georgia where he had access to his customers’ bank account information. From 2006 to 2013, Busch used his customers’ account information to misappropriate approximately $1.3 million from eight Wells Fargo brokerage customers. Busch would either submit a paper debit memo or call his credit card company and request payments from his customers’ bank accounts to [...] Read more.
In a massive Ponzi scheme, Edwin Yoshihiro Fujinaga and MRI International, Inc. solicited hundreds of millions of dollars from investors living in Japan and across the globe. Beginning back in 1998, MRI convinced investors it was in the business of buying discounted medical accounts receivable held against insurance companies and recovering the full value. In reality, MRI was designed solely to misappropriate money. Fujinaga used various shell companies to distribute investor money to pay off early investors and fund [...] Read more.
Bambi Holzer in facing a civil enforcement complaint for selling seven investors privately issued securities that turned out to be fraudulent and for lying to FINRA in regulatory documents. Holzer has already had several clients win judgments against her for her investment recommendations, included Hollywood stars. In 2008, Holzer was employed with Wedbush Securities Inc. in Los Angeles and was selling securities issued by Provident Shale Royalties 8, LLC. In 2009, the securities were revealed as a Ponzi scheme, [...] Read more.
Jane E. O’Brien borrowed more than $2 million of client funds while working as a financial advisor for Merrill Lynch. Beginning around 2009, O’Brien convinced her clients that she was investing in thousands of shares when she was actually using their money to pay off her mortgage and settle legal fees. Merrill Lynch had given O’Brien a $1.2 million loan as part of her payment package, and she brought more than $150 million in assets under management to Merrill [...] Read more.
A petition has been filed that would compel the widow of Richard Schwartz, Brielle Cotterman, to disclose her assets and “cease intermeddling” in the estate. The representative and administrator of the estate of the deceased wealth manager, Richard Schwartz, claim that Cotterman has taken various measures to prevent the estate from seizing all of Schwartz’s assets. According to the petition, Cotterman altered documents relating to several LLCs owned by her and Schwartz. One of the LLCs held the couple’s [...] Read more.
Jeffrey Brian Meyer was employed with WRP Investments, Inc. from 2009 to 2012. In August 2012, Meyer was terminated due to his refusal to disclose his outside business activities and refusing to cooperate with WRP in its internal investigation into his undisclosed business activity. In 2011, Meyer offered and sold to one Illinois investor five investment notes, totaling $50,000, into K&M Oil Fund, LLC. He also offered and sold K&M notes to four additional Illinois residents that were customers [...] Read more.
Jay John Soojian was a registered agent of New England Securities from 2000 to 2011 and a registered agent of Park Avenue Securities from 2011 to 2012. From June 2009 to November 2011, Soojian and others sold approximately $12 million worth of securities in Osiris Fund Limited Partnership and Osiris Partner, LLC to at least 76 investors. Osiris Fund and Osiris Partners have never been registered to sell securities and, from 2010 to 2011, Osiris sent investors false financial [...] Read more.
J. Capital Advisors, LLC of Haddam, Connecticut and Aaron Jousan Johnson, its president and control person, had their registrations revoked after allegations of unethical practices and securities law violations were confirmed. The firm was found to have willfully failed to make records available and to have willfully engaged in dishonest or unethical practices by deducting excessive, undisclosed client advisory fees from client accounts. Johnson specifically was found to have withdrawn approximately $25,000 in fees from clients’ accounts – charging [...] Read more.
Last month, Michael A. Gigante was fined and suspended by FINRA for engaging in undisclosed business activities. Gigante was referring member firm customers to a mortgage broker associated with an entity that offered brokerage services and investment opportunities. Gigante’s recommendations led investors to Great Atlantic Group and convicted ponzi schemer Joseph Mazella. Mazella was convicted in February 2012 of orchestrating a scam that led to more than $14 million in losses. From January 2007 until December 2010, Mazella solicited [...] Read more.
E-Biofuel, an Indiana-based company, is charged with operating the largest tax and securities fraud scheme in the state’s history. According to the charging documents, the scam cost the government and investors more than $100 million. E-Biofuels claimed to produce a premium form of biodiesel, but instead of actually manufacturing the biodiesel, E-Biofuels bought cheaper fuel and sold it for a profit as its own product. In doing so, E-Biofuels defrauded customers out of about $55 million and was able [...] Read more.
The SEC brought securities fraud charges against Larry J. Dearman, Sr. and Marya Gray in connection with fraudulent securities offerings that raised at least $4.7 million from more than 30 of Dearman’s investment-advisory clients. According to the Complaint, from 2008 through 2012, Dearman and Gray took investor funds and promised they would invest the money in various entities owned or controlled by Gray, including Bartnet Wireless Internet, The Property Shoppe, and Quench Buds. But in truth, Dearman and Gray [...] Read more.
In March 2013, the Securities Division for the State of Washington entered a statement of charges to deny future registration and impose a fine against David Patrick Thomas. Thomas, formerly a registered securities salesperson with SII Investments and Seacoast Investor Services, offered and sold more than $435,000 worth of securities to Washington investors. The securities were offered in the form of membership interests in Chadbourn Partners, LLC, a Florida company. Thomas represented to investors that their funds would be [...] Read more.
George A. Kardaras and Brian M. Borakowski are permanently barred from associating with any FINRA broker-dealer after defrauding at least 12 investors out of more than $665,000 through the illegal sale of securities through Echo Canyon, LLC. Borakowski formed Echo Canyon in 2006 in Arizona. Karadaras and Borakowski told investors that the funds they received through the sale of promissory notes issued by Echo Canyon would be used to purchase used cars in the U.S. for resale in Russia. [...] Read more.
Richard W. Preston of Hope, Maine was an agent and investment advisor for Commonwealth Financial Network (“CFN”) until August 2011. In January 2011, Preston facilitated the sale of approximately $300,000 in promissory notes and common stock of Hydro Phi Technologies, Inc. to two Maine investors and CFN customers. At that time, Preston also borrowed $20,000 from one investor so he could personally invest in the private offering. Preston participated in the transaction and borrowed money without providing prior written [...] Read more.
Barbara Josephine Stark and Susan Elizabeth Walker were terminated from Ameriprise Financial Services in Wayzata, Minnesota on March 22, 2013. The Minnesota Department of Commerce brought charges against both women after a customer complained that their investments had been stolen. Neither woman testified or denied the allegations against them. Each signed a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent that will prevent them from ever being associated with a FINRA member in any capacity. Under FINRA, Ameriprise Financial Services has [...] Read more.
William Patrick Lentell, a registered representative at Morgan Stanley, was terminated on January 4, 2013 in connection with his improper acceptance of loans from customers. From 2009 through 2012, Lentell accepted 16 loans from 11 customers totaling $316,000. The FINRA Code of Conduct prohibits registered agents from borrowing or lending money to his or her customers unless the firm has written procedures that permit lending arrangements and the arrangement meets specific FINRA requirements. Lentell did not notify or receive [...] Read more.