FINRA Sanctions Five Brokers Affiliated with HFP Capital Markets

shutterstock_161005310The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) sanctioned five brokers formerly associated with now expelled brokerage firm HFP Capital Markets LLC (HFP Capital) (Case No. 2010024522103) including brokers Jonah Engler (Engler), Brett Friedberg (Friedberg), Jonathan Sheklow (Sheklow), Joshua Turney (Turney), and Hector Perez (a/k/a Bruce Johnson) (Perez) concerning allegations that between December 2009, and February 2011, the five brokers fraudulently sold a total of nearly $3 million worth of Senior Secured Zero Coupon Notes (MMM Notes) issued by Metals, Milling and Mining LLC in a private placement offering to 59 customers.

FINRA alleged that the brokers misrepresented material facts about the offering by promising to pay a return of 100 percent in one year by purportedly extracting precious metals from materials left over from mining operations. In reality, FINRA determined that the investors lost all of the money that they invested in the MMM Notes, with the exception of three investors who were repaid with funds from new investors in a Ponzi scheme like fashion. FINRA determined that the brokers also recklessly failed to conduct a reasonable investigation, or due diligence, of the viability and legitimacy of company in the face of numerous red flags that it was a fraud.

In addition, FINRA alleged that the brokers recklessly misrepresented to customers that: (a) the MMM Notes were collateralized by certain barrels of ore concentrate; and (b) the collateral ore concentrate was of sufficient value to secure the investment in the MMM Notes. In fact, FINRA found that there was no collateral for the MMM Notes because the company did not own any ore concentrate. FINRA determined that the broker’s representations concerning the MMM Notes were recklessly and misrepresented material facts regarding the MMM Notes in willful violation of Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 (the anti-fraud provision) as well as several industry rules. In sum, the brokers failed to obtain even basic information about the company necessary to the due diligence process in order to understand an investment in the company and therefore lacked a reasonable basis to recommend the MMM Notes to investors.

In addition, to the MMM Note regulatory action each of the five brokers have been subject to numerous customer complaints involving claims of unsuitable investments, unauthorized trading, and churning (excessive trading), breach of fiduciary duty, negligence, fraud, and misrepresentation among other claims. Indeed, combined Engler, Friedberg, Sheklow, Turney, and Perez have a combined 37 customer complaints.

After their stint at HFP Capital, the majority of the brokers became associated with Global Arena Capital Corp. and Rockwell Global Capital LLC.

Investors who have suffered losses may be able recover their losses through securities arbitration. The attorneys at Gana LLP are experienced in representing investors in cases where their broker has acted inappropriately. Our consultations are free of charge and the firm is only compensated if you recover.