Class Action

Ponzi Schemes

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NWI tied to medical-device kickback scheme, federal lawsuit states

A surgeon with ties to Northwest Indiana received millions of dollars from a medical-device company accused by the federal government of paying off doctors to use its products, a recently filed federal whistleblower lawsuit reveals.

By Giles Bruce of The Northwest Indiana Times A surgeon with ties to Northwest Indiana received millions of dollars from a medical-device company accused by the federal government of paying off doctors to use its products, a recently filed federal whistleblower lawsuit reveals. An Indiana surgeon identified in the civil complaint only as "Dr. A" — and who performed surgeries in Hobart, Merrillville and Munster — generated "by far" more revenue for Huntley, Illinois-based Life Spine than any other physician, including more than $22.9 million overall and roughly a quarter of sales in 2016 and 2017 alone, the lawsuit alleges. The second...

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Bishop Timothy L. Doherty’s statement on Father David Hasser

Bishop Timothy L. Doherty’s statement on Father David Hasser

NOTE: Andrew Miller is a partner at Starr Austen & Miller LLP. Mr. Miller’s client received a $225,000 settlement paid by the Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana to resolve her claims of sexual assault and harassment by Fr. David Hasser, a Diocesan priest and its Director of Vocations. Mr. Miller was able to negotiate the settlement with the Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana prior to filing a lawsuit. As an additional condition of settlement, Mr. Miller and his client insisted that the Diocese publicly acknowledge Fr. Hasser’s conduct and also that it retract its prior statement announcing Fr. Hasser’s departure from his position as...

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Investors say ex-‘Fox & Friends’ host turned them into unwitting slumlords

Investors say ex-‘Fox & Friends’ host turned them into unwitting slumlords

By: Tim Evans and Tony Cook, Indianapolis Star In court filings and responses to online complaints, Morris contends he merely referred investors to Oceanpointe and several related entities. Investors' anger and lawsuits are misplaced, Morris said. “Clayton Morris and Morris Invest identify with the many investors who lost money through home-renovation, property-management, and other failures by Oceanpointe and its various corporate entities and employees," Hensel said in the emailed statement. "Clayton Morris and his family purchased properties and were similarly damaged by Oceanpointe’s misconduct. The Morris family and Morris Invest have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Clayton and Morris Invest deny all allegations...

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Fiduciary Duty Rule by Scott L. Starr, Partner

Law 360’s Allison Noon recently published an article entitled “Facing Fiduciary Duty, Brokers Threaten to Exit Nevada”.  According to Ms. Noon: “Top stock brokerages are accusing Nevada regulators of playing a dangerous game with fiduciary rules and are threatening to leave the Silver State if officials don’t back off.” Ms. Noon goes on to report that various Wall Street trade associations and brokers Morgan Stanley, Charles Schwab, Edward Jones, TDAmeritrade, and Wells Fargo “offered ominous promises that investment options would disappear in Nevada if Nevada’s security regulators adopted the fiduciary standard.” This just goes to show how Wall Street does not really care very...

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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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