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Securities Fraud

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...

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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...

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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...

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Fiduciary Duty Rule by Scott L. Starr, Partner

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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

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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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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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