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Former powerhouse investment broker Buck sentenced to more than 3 years in prison

By Susan Orr of the Indianapolis Business Journal A federal judge on Wednesday sentenced former powerhouse Merrill Lynch broker Thomas Buck to three years and four months in prison. Buck, who pleaded guilty to one count of securities fraud in October 2017, also agreed at that time to pay a $5 million civil penalty after prosecutors alleged he charged clients $2 million in excessive commissions and failed to recommend fee-based accounts. The 40-month sentence imposed by Judge James Sweeney fell short of the 78-month sentence prosecutors had sought. Sweeney also imposed two years of supervised release on Buck, 65, and ordered him to complete...

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More Seniors Victimized by Financial Scams

More Seniors Victimized by Financial Scams

By Yuka Hayashi of The Wall Street Journal The number of suspected cases of elder financial abuse reached a record last year, an increase that comes as new federal and state laws prompt banks to take a more active role in curbing frauds and scams that target older customers. Banks for their part have been beefing up training programs for employees on how to detect, stop and report issues without violating a customer’s privacy.  Employees are even learning to recognize early signs of cognitive decline. Last year, banks reported 24,454 suspected cases of elder financial abuse to the Treasury Department, more than double...

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Indiana Secretary of State Fines LPL Financial (Linsco Private Ledger) $450,000 for Failing to Supervise Its Indiana Brokers

Indiana Secretary of State Fines LPL Financial (Linsco Private Ledger) $450,000 for Failing to Supervise Its Indiana Brokers

Written by Scott L. Starr December 3, 2018 The securities industry is designed so that the first line of defense against fraud is the requirement that a brokerage firm must police its own brokers. A principal rule in the securities industry is that brokerage firms are required to supervise each of its broker’s offices. LPL Financial has recently agreed to pay a civil penalty of $450,000 for “various deficiencies” related to the supervision of its Indiana brokers, the Indiana Secretary of State’s Office recently reported.  In addition to the payment of this civil penalty, Linsco Private Ledger agreed to conduct a third party...

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How a Chicago rabbi allegedly abused his trust with the Chicago Jewish community

An article authored by Law360’s David Matthews describes how a Chicago rabbi allegedly abused his trust with the Chicago Jewish community by convincing his followers to invest over $35 million into a Ponzi scheme.

An article authored by Law360’s David Matthews describes how a Chicago rabbi allegedly abused his trust with the Chicago Jewish community by convincing his followers to invest over $35 million into a Ponzi scheme. The facts as described by the following article contain the hallmarks of a typical Ponzi scheme.  These are: A person in a position of trust, such an accountant, cleric, preacher, insurance salesman, or an investment advisor; Abusing his trust by convincing his followers to invest their hard earned retirement savings; By promising big returns with little or no risk; The Ponzi schemer steals a portion of...

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Starr Austen & Miller represents victims of fraud and ponzi schemes

An article recently reported by Rachel Graf and Law360 entitled “Asset Management Firm CEO Charged With $16M Fraud”, defines a pattern of conduct that is occurring everywhere. Scott Starr of Starr Austen & Miller within the last five years has represented over 100 victims of similar schemes, wherein a life insurance salesman, a stockbroker, or an investment advisor convinces his clients to purchase promissory notes, LLC membership interests, stocks, or such similar investments for the purported purpose of “investing in real estate” promising high returns, typically in the 10% range. In reality, the fraudster will then use all or a...

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SEC Charges Indiana Investment Advisor With Securities Fraud

SEC Charges Indiana Investment Advisor With Securities Fraud

September 18, 2018 The Securities Exchange Commission recently charged a former middle school math teacher now working as an investment advisor, Tammie Steele, with securities fraud.  Steele sold securities through Pendleton-based Steele Financial Inc., 131 N. Pendleton Avenue, which she founded in 2000.  Steele allegedly defrauded a significant number of her clients by causing them to invest in a Houston, Texas based software firm called BRS.  The SEC complaint charges that Steele convinced her clients to purchase the extremely risky BRS investments while failing to tell her clients that she was incentivized to push these risky investments by the huge commissions...

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Secretary Of State Connie Lawson Reminds Investors And Offerors To Use Caution With Cryptocurrency Investments

Secretary Of State Connie Lawson Reminds Investors And Offerors To Use Caution With Cryptocurrency Investments

By: www.wbiw.com Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson is again reminding Hoosiers to be cautious about investments involving Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and cryptocurrency-related investment products. She is also reminding those who seek to sell these products to be aware of the laws pertaining to these investments. "While not every ICO or cryptocurrency-related investment is a fraud, it is important for individuals and firms selling these products to be mindful that they are not doing so in a vacuum; Indiana laws or regulations may apply, especially securities laws. Sponsors of these products should seek the advice of knowledgeable legal counsel to ensure they...

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SEC issues warning about self-directed IRA fraud

SEC issues warning about self-directed IRA fraud

by ConsumerAffairs.com As hand-wringing over dwindling pension trust funds and economic security continues to grow, many people are looking for ways to pump up their nest eggs. One investment angle that many consumers are working are self-directed Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs). However, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is raising red flags about the risk vs. reward of that and other investment paths. A self-directed IRA is an IRA held by a custodian that allows investment in a broader set of assets than permitted by most IRA custodians. There’s a danger zone in that scheme because custodians for self-directed IRAs can abandon most...

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Northern Ohio Ponzi scheme involved convicted fraudster Tim Durham

"Failing Calif. Leasing Co. An $80M Ponzi Scheme, SEC Says", an article from Law 360 detailing yet another huge Ponzi scheme, this one occurring in California.  You will see from the article that is alleged by the Securities and Exchange Commission that Ralph Iannelli, the president and founder of Essex Capital Corp., raised approximately 80 million dollars from investors in return for promissory notes, while falsely portraying his business as successful. The Essex Capital Corp. business purportedly was engaged in leasing assets to businesses, and then reporting back to their investors that they were very successful, instead of accurately reporting...

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Yet Another Classic Ponzi Scheme

Yet Another Classic Ponzi Scheme

By Scott Starr An article that recently appeared on Law360.com, authored by Dean Seal, titled "Tenn. Tractor Supplier Gets 3 Years For $43M Ponzi Scheme" which describes another classic Ponzi scheme in a small Tennessee town of approximately 5,000 residents, Sparta, Tennessee. The Ponzi schemer scammed his friends, relatives, and fellow citizens out of $43 million. I would recommend that you read this short article carefully as it represents the classic hallmarks of a Ponzi scheme. Starr Austen & Miller has represented hundreds of victims of Ponzi schemers, just like the scam described in the article. Ponzi schemers always follow the same...

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