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Securities Fraud

Jury Awards $15 Million in Punitive Damages Against MetLife for Ponzi Scheme Involvement

Last year MetLife and one of its subsidiaries were assessed $15 million in punitive damages by a jury for its failure to discover one of its agents was selling unregistered securities along with life insurance policies. The unregistered securities were actually promissory notes which were allegedly invested in a $200 million Ponzi scheme. The plaintiff, Christine Ramirez, claimed that MetLife’s subsidiary New England Life Insurance Company had an agent who was selling her these unregistered securities at the same time he was selling her life insurance. ...

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What is the “Fraud-on-the-Market” Doctrine of Securities Fraud?

In the United States Supreme Court case of Basic, Inc. v. Levinson, 485 U.S. 224 (1988), the Court ruled that in certain circumstances a securities class action would be appropriate notwithstanding what otherwise would be individualized issues of reliance.  Basic created the Fraud-on-the-Market Doctrine. The Fraud-on-the-Market Doctrine pertains to the reliance element of the federal section 10(b) claim.  Because 10(b) claims require reliance, courts historically had found class wide treatment was inappropriate in Section 10(b) claims because individualized reliance issues would predominate, precluding class certification under Federal Rule 23(b)(3).  In Basic, the United States Supreme Court created a solution to this...

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SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations Identifies Frequent Advisor and Brokerage Firm Shortcomings

Starr Austen & Miller has represented over a thousand victims of either investment advisor negligence or stockbroker fraud.  In almost every case the guilty advisor or broker failed to comply with his firm’s own compliance manual.  Typically, such conduct has been ongoing for years and the brokerage firm has chosen to pay lip service to its compliance rules and procedures by not truly watching its broker with sufficient care or otherwise properly supervising the broker’s bad conduct.  In essence, the compliance manual becomes a worthless piece of paper the brokerage firm shows the regulators in an effort to show that...

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Indiana settles with securities firm over agent who ran Ponzi scheme

By: Indianapolis Business Journal Staff and Associated Press The state has reached a $275,000 settlement with NYLife Securities LLC over the activities of an Indiana wealth manager who killed himself in 2013 while being investigated for operating a Ponzi scheme that took millions of dollars from dozens of investors. Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson announced the settlement Thursday. Former NYLife agent Richard Schwartz operated a Kokomo-based company called RAS & Associates that sold investments totaling $16.3 million to 53 Indiana investors. The state says most of that money was never invested but went to support Schwartz’s “extravagant lifestyle” and an apparent gambling problem. Attorney...

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Oil Futures Trader Gets 10 Years For $1.4M Ponzi Scheme

By Matthew Guarnaccia of Texas federal judge on Tuesday sentenced a New York-based oil futures trader to 10 years in prison for orchestrating a Ponzi scheme in relation to his operation commodity pool, which took more than $1.4 million from investors. U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes handed down the 120-month sentence to 33-year-old Christopher Donrick Daley, who was convicted of one count of mail fraud and three counts of wire fraud following a two-day jury trial in September. Judge Hughes also ordered Daley to pay $614,950 in restitution. He will serve three years of supervised release after his time in prison. The...

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Securities watchdog bans second broker in alleged Veros Ponzi scheme

By: Jared Council of Indianapolis Business Journal Financial industry regulators have permanently barred a local broker alleged to have participated in a Ponzi scheme. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority said Tobin Joseph Senefeld of Indianapolis has been disbarred from associating with any FINRA member institution, according to its monthly disciplinary report released last week. The sanction is related to a 2015 civil suit filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission that claimed Senefeld and two others operated a multimillion-dollar Ponzi scheme involving farm loans. According to FINRA, Senefeld was banned because he refused to provide on-the-record testimony about the Ponzi scheme allegations. Senefeld,...

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New Albany, Indiana Man Arrested on Multiple Counts of Securities Fraud and Theft

By Lindsey Holmes of A New Albany man is in jail Thursday night after a 13-month investigation revealed he defrauded nearly $535,000 from numerous Dubois County Residents. In October 2015, a complaint was filed with the Indiana Secretary of State, Securities Division after a woman became concerned about the financial investments made on behalf of her mother. A criminal investigation was initiated by the Indiana State Police into the transactions by the woman’s financial advisor, 58 year old Stephen Recker, formerly of Jasper and currently of New Albany. Through the course of the investigation and as a result of the initial complaint, investigators...

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Trader Charged For $9M Ponzi Scheme Not Singled Out: Judge

By Joyce Hanson of An Illinois federal judge on Thursday refused to dismiss an indictment against a Chicago trader who has been charged with wire fraud for orchestrating an alleged $9 million Ponzi scheme, ruling that he wasn’t singled out for prosecution while other similarly situated violators were let off the hook. U.S. District Court Judge John Z. Lee said Ludiera Capital LLC President Nick Wurl admitted in a government interview that he made false statements to investors and hid trading losses, and his argument saying Fannie Mae executives and ex-Goldman Sachs employee Fabrice Tourre were accused of similar conduct but...

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U.S. Takes Down Call-Center Financial Scam

Officials allege people impersonating IRS, immigration officials extracted more than $250 million from victims By Miriam Jordan of The Wall Street Journal Federal authorities said Thursday they had dismantled a massive call-center scheme perpetrated by individuals in the U.S. and India who bilked thousands of Americans out of hundreds of millions of dollars by posing as Internal Revenue Service and Department of Homeland Security officials. An 81-page indictment names 56 people in the U.S. and India and five call centers in Ahmedabad, India, allegedly involved in the fraud. They were charged in a Texas federal district court in Houston with crimes including impersonation...

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