Our firm represents multiple clients who have been recommended GPB Capital Holdings (GPB Capital) related investments. GPB invests in a variety of businesses but primarily in auto dealerships and waste management businesses. However, over the past year controversy has embroiled GPB Capital in a saga including multiple regulatory investigations and even an FBI referral which has left investors clueless to the fate of their investments.
According to our investigation Royal Alliance Associates, Inc. (Royal Alliance) and its brokers including Matthew Crafa (Crafa) have recommended GPB Capital private placements to investors.
As a background, financial advisers sold $1.5 billion of these high-risk private placements offered by GPB Capital Holdings. However, GPB Capital told investors in 2018 that virtually none of the firm’s financial reports could be trusted and that in fact the offering had no accurate financial information. Recently, GPB Capital released its own internal analysis and valuation of its funds without providing any evidence to support its findings. As reported by InvestmentNews, the two largest funds offered GPB Holdings II and GPB Automotive Portfolio have declines of 25.4% and 39%. However, some of the other funds, like Armada Waste, faired much worse declining to only 32% of their original value. Again these valuations are provided by GPB Capital and only after a year of accounting mishaps.
Our firm’s investigation has found that brokerage firms failed to conduct due diligence and investigate multiple aspects of GPB Capital’s business including its senior management, fantastical business claims, and intra-fund lending practices. For instance, with respect to GPB Capital’s senior management the company was founded by David Gentile (Gentile). Had brokerage firms investigated GPB Capital’s senior manager it would have found that prior to founding GPB Capital, Gentile’s experience was as a CPA and company advisor with the accounting practice his family ran at Gentile Pismeny & Brengel, LLP (GP&B) in New York. Nonetheless, GPB’s PPMs claimed expertise in these areas. See GPB Holdings II, LP, PPM, pg. 9 (Apr. 13, 2015) (“GPB’s senior management have a great deal of experience investing in the Automotive Retail, Managed IT Services and Life Sciences sectors.”). Any investigation would have revealed that GPB Capital is merely the private equity investment arm of a plain vanilla accounting practice. There is no evidence that GPB Capital’s senior management had the knowledge, industry experience, or investment experience to run the operations of a $1.8 billion dollar mult-asset strategy private equity fund and should not have been entrusted with investor funds.