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Securities Fraud

Broker Pleads Guilty To Role In $131M Investment Scheme

By Matthew Guarnaccia of Law360.com A securities broker pled guilty in New York federal court on Wednesday to securities fraud in relation to a scheme that bilked investors of lighting company ForceField Energy Inc. out of approximately $131 million, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement. Staten Island resident Naveed Khan, 33, admitted to participating in a scheme to artificially control the price and volume of ForceField shares. He faces up to 20 years in prison and may be required to pay restitution, criminal forfeiture and a fine. The DOJ indicted Khan and several others in May, alleging that between late...

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Beware of Ponzi Schemes!

There presently is a trial going on in California involving a woman who was among hundreds of investors who claimed that a Metropolitan Life Insurance agent tricked them into buying unregistered securities as part of 200 million dollar Ponzi scheme. The victim in that case is a 75 year old widow. A couple of years ago our office handled a very similar case here in Indiana involving a life insurance agent. In that case the agent convinced his clients to give him large sums of money to invest in a “retirement savings plan”. The fraudster then took the money and lived...

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‘Mini-Madoff’ Associate Gets 6.5 Years For Ponzi Scheme

By Suevon Lee for Law360.com A former New York investment broker was sentenced to six-and-a-half years in prison by a New York federal judge Friday for her role in a $370 million Ponzi scheme that led to $150 million in losses for 3,800 investors, the U.S. Department of Justice said. Diane Kaylor, who was convicted in April 2015 of securities fraud, conspiracy, mail fraud and wire fraud after a month-long jury trial, was also ordered to pay $179 million in restitution during her sentencing by U.S. District Judge Denis R. Hurley in Central Islip, New York. The 40-year-old Kaylor was one of four...

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Why Plaintiffs Firms Will Love DOL’s New Fiduciary Rules

By Carmen Germaine of Law360.com The U.S. Department of Labor’s fiduciary rules give more power to retirement savers, experts said, providing investors and their attorneys an important new tool to bring claims when they suspect their broker-dealer doesn’t have their best interests at heart. “As night follows the day, there will be more litigation,” Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP partner Seth Schwartz said of the new rules, which require financial professionals advising retirement accounts to act in their client’s interest when recommending investment products. Experts said that the regulation’s requirement that brokers enter a contract with clients affirming they will uphold...

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DOL Fiduciary Rule Can Save Investors $190B, Court Told

By Jimmy Hoover of Law360.com The U.S. Department of Labor's new fiduciary rule for retirement investment advisers will save consumers anywhere from $95 billion to $189 billion over the next decade by reducing industry-pervasive conflicts of interest, the agency told a D.C. federal court Friday, denying the rule goes too far. In a lengthy cross-motion for summary judgment, the department extolled the virtues of its new regulation extending new standards to several categories of investment advisers who previously enjoyed more-relaxed obligations to look after the clients' bottom line. The brief comes in response to The National Association For Fixed Annuities' request for...

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SEC Eyeing Advisers’ Share Class Conflicts Of Interest

By Jody Godoy of Law360.com The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission told financial advisers on Wednesday that it will start probing whether they are improperly pushing more expensive types of mutual fund or college saving plan shares without disclosing the fees they receive. The initiative launched by the SEC's Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations will have investigators looking at advisers' books and records to make sure that, where an adviser is also a broker, the adviser is not receiving undisclosed benefits by recommending certain share classes. The examination will also assess whether the adviser has in place proper disclosure protocols and...

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Department of Labor Rolls Out New Rules for Financial Advisers: What They Mean for Reporters

by Jennifer Backer The Donald W. Reynolds National Center of Business Journalism Despite a shift towards more transparency in the financial planning industry, many investors still aren’t sure what they are paying their financial advisers, USA Today reported. But new rules the Department of Labor rolled out earlier this month are designed to clear things up for investors. The long-awaited and debated fiduciary rule requires that investment advisers put their clients’ interests before their own when it comes to fees and investment choices. The new rules are designed to clarify how much advisers are paid, who they work for, and how they get...

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The SEC and Finra Tighten Their Grip on Money Laundering Violations

Regulators are clamping down on money laundering violations among brokerdealers in firms of all sizes, regardless if they have the proper compliance resources or not. Brokerdealers of small and medium sized firms should brace themselves for increasing regulations involving their compliance practices. No more are Finra and the SEC targeting just the larger companies. Nick Fera, chief executive officer of Firm58 stated, “They’re getting more aggressive about things and it’s harder to operate a business in this environment.” Recent Money Laundering Violations and Why E.S. Financial Services based in Miami, agreed to a $1 million fine for charges of violating antimoney laundering rules. The SEC fined New...

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Massachusetts Looks to Hammer Shady Brokers

The top 241 firms in Massachusetts with an above average number of reps with misconduct reports on their records are being audited. Secretary of the Commonwealth, William Galvin has requested the firms hand over their hiring information. The letter being sent out, commonly referred to as a “sweep”, is to help the governing body understand brokerdealer hiring policies and procedures. According to Galvin, the goal is to rid the commonwealth of the bad apples. He stated, “We need and expect the brokerdealer community to assist us by aggressively policing and monitoring their own workforce. This sweep is intended to establish how the industry is meeting this critical investor protection responsibility...

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SEC Bans Broker For Fraud in Tobacco Scheme

Lee Weiss, a Massachusetts resident, was banned from the brokerage and investment industry for a fraud scheme revolving around tobacco. He claimed a French company could reduce the harmful effects of tobacco smoking, according to the SEC . Mr. Weiss and his firm Family Endowment Partners LLC , will pay approximately $8.4 million in fines back to the investors who he stole from. According to the SEC litigation announcement, they also have been ordered to pay $1.5 million in civil penalty. How the Fraud Scheme Worked The SEC alleged that from 2010 to 2012, Weiss and his firm fraudulently advised clients to invest more than $40 million in...

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