Class Action

Ponzi Schemes

Latest News

 

Securities Fraud

Kentucky Fraudster is Sentenced to 10 Years for Investment Fraud

Kentucky Fraudster is Sentenced to 10 Years for Investment Fraud

A judge recently sentenced Kentucky resident, William S. Evans, to 10 years in prison for bilking a group of his friends, clients, and acquaintances out of more than $17 million dollars with fraudulent promises of high investment returns.  Instead of investing his clients’ monies, Evans used these funds to live a lavish lifestyle.  Most of those folks who were defrauded were elderly who took their hard-earned retirement accounts to invest with him based on his false promises of double-digit returns.  The crime spree extended from 2014 through 2020 before the house of cards Evans built came crashing down.  Evans provided...

Continue reading

Westfield Man Sentenced for Wire Fraud and Money Laundering

George S. Blankenbaker Jr., sentenced to 5 years in prison for wire fraud and money laundering.

BY: Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Indiana A Westfield man was sentenced to 5 years in prison for wire fraud and money laundering. He will also serve 3 years of supervised release and was ordered to pay over $1,500,000 in restitution. According to court documents, George S. Blankenbaker Jr., 56, was charged April 1, 2021 with wire fraud and money laundering after an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation. Between May 2008 and August 2016, Blankenbaker created three business entities, Stargrower Commercial Bridge Loan Fund 1 LLC, Stargrower Asset Management LLC and EDU Holding Trust. He...

Continue reading

Greenwood Man Charged Federally for Alleged $14 Million Fraud Scheme

Greenwood Man Charged Federally for Alleged $14 Million Fraud Scheme

By: Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Indiana (https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdin) Acting United States Attorney John E. Childress announced today that Daniel R. Fruits, 46, of Greenwood, Indiana, was charged by a federal grand jury for his alleged role in three separate fraud schemes, including a nearly $14 million fraud on an investor, an attempted mortgage fraud, and a vehicle title-washing scheme. “This financial investor gave his hard-earned money to someone whom he thought he could trust,” said Childress. “Instead, the victim’s money ended up in the hands of a self-absorbed thief who only cared about his interests. Living a life...

Continue reading

New Palestine man charged in $1.2M investment fraud scheme

A New Palestine man has been charged in the alleged theft of $1.2 million through investment fraud.

By Lydia Gerike of the Indianapolis Star A New Palestine man has been charged in the alleged theft of $1.2 million through investment fraud. Bruce Wayne Ford, 47, faces 11 counts of securities fraud, wire fraud and money laundering, according to a release from Josh Minkler, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana. Ford was arrested Sept. 11. Court documents said Ford offered financial advising services through his Greenfield-based Ford Financial and Insurance Services, but neither he nor the company were properly registered to provide those services. “If one investor had checked his registration, his entire scheme would have crumbled," Secretary of State Connie Lawson said in the release. "I encourage...

Continue reading

Indiana Secretary Of State Issues Advisory To Raise Awareness Of Private Offering Risks

Indiana Secretary Of State Issues Advisory To Raise Awareness Of Private Offering Risks

By WBIW.com The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant disruption and anxiety to individuals and the financial markets. Because fraudsters often try to capitalize on current issues and problems to promote their scams, Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson today issued an investor advisory on exempt securities offerings, also known as “private placements,” in light of the coronavirus pandemic. A private placement is a securities offering that is not required by law to be registered with federal or state securities regulators. Private placements allow companies to sell stocks, bonds, or other securities to investors without completing the rigorous disclosures necessary in a registered...

Continue reading

Indiana Secretary Of State Joins Task Force Cracking Down On COVID-19 Investment Scams

Indiana Secretary Of State Joins Task Force Cracking Down On COVID-19 Investment Scams

by: wbiw.com The Indiana Secretary of State’s Office announced that it has joined an international enforcement task force organized by the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) to investigate fraudsters looking to capitalize during the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. “We are proud to join our colleagues in NASAA’s COVID-19 Enforcement Task Force,” said Secretary of State Connie Lawson. “Investment schemes related to COVID-19 are a significant threat to Hoosier investors, and fraudsters need to know that my office is dedicated to effectively protecting investors from COVID-19 investment fraud.” Through the Indiana Securities Division, the Secretary’s office is a member of NASAA, the membership organization...

Continue reading

WARNING: CD and Promissory Note scams are rampant

WARNING: CD and Promissory Note scams are rampant

By: Scott L. Starr Yet another Certificate of Deposit (CD) scam has cropped up, this time in Florida, where Federal prosecutors have charged Dennis Sotnikov from Florida with a 30 million dollar scheme which caused investors to purchase fake CDs by the use of fake websites designed to look like legitimate banks. According to reports, about 70 investors were hoodwinked into putting approximately 30 million dollars into non-existent CDs with the promise of higher than market rate returns. Starr Austen & Miller has represented hundreds of defrauded investors in the past on schemes similar to this.  At present, Starr Austen & Miller...

Continue reading

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...

Continue reading

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...

Continue reading

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...

Continue reading