Advisor Justine Zhou Accused of Selling Private Real Estate Investments – Recovery Options

shutterstock_157018310-300x200The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating claims that advisor Jun (Justine) Zhou (Zhou) was discharged by her employer after being accused of offering securities not reported to the company.  According to BrokerCheck records, Zhou is formerly registered with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) member firm The Leaders Group.  In addition, Zhou disclosed one regulatory complaint. If you have been a victim of Zhou’s alleged misconduct our firm may be able to assist you in recovering funds.

In November 2019 FINRA filed a regulatory action alleging that Zhou consented to the sanction and findings that she between April 2017 and June 2018, through a small real estate company she wholly owned and controlled, participated in the sale of $9,050,000 in membership interests in private real estate funds managed by a third party and $5,000,000 in a promissory note with that third-party fund manager. FINRA found that the fund membership interests and the promissory note were securities, involved 15 transactions, and seven investors.  FINRA determined that Zhou’s real estate company received $179,000 in compensation from the third-party fund manager.  In addition, FINRA alleged that on June 4, 2018, Zhou formed Zhou Fund I LLC (Zhou Fund), a private real estate fund managed by Zhou’s real estate company.  Zhou is alleged to have subsequently filed a notice of exempt offering of securities with the Securities and Exchange Commission related to twelve transactions in June and July 2018 through which Zhou and her real estate company sold $2,000,000 in membership interests in Zhou Fund to twelve investors.

Our law firm has significant experience bringing cases on behalf of defrauded victims when their advisors engage in receiving loans from clients or selling securities sales through OBAs.  The sale of unapproved investment products – is a practice known in the industry as “selling away” – a serious violation of the securities laws.  In the industry the term selling away refers to when a financial advisor solicits investments in companies, promissory notes, or other securities that are not pre-approved by the broker’s affiliated firm.  Sometimes those investments have some legitimacy but often times these types of investments can end up being Ponzi schemes or the advisor can be engaging in the conversion of funds.

However, federal securities laws and the FINRA rules require firms to monitor and supervise its employees in order to detect and prevent brokers from offering investments in this fashion.  In order to properly supervise their brokers each firm is required to have procedures in order to monitor the activities of each advisor’s activities and interaction with the public.  Selling away misconduct often occurs where brokerage firms either fail to put in place a reasonable supervisory system or fail to actually implement that system.  Supervisory failures allow brokers to engage in unsupervised misconduct that can include all manner improper conduct including selling away.

In cases of selling away the investor is unaware that the advisor’s investments are improper.  In many of these cases the investor will not learn that the broker’s activities were wrongful until after the investment scheme is publicized, the broker is fired or charged by law enforcement, or stops returning client calls altogether.

Zhou entered the securities industry in 2004.  From September 2004 until November 2015 Zhou was assoaicted with Farmers Financial Sollutions, LLC.  Finally, from November 2015 until August 2018 Zhou was registered with The Leaders Group out of the firm’s Littleton, Colorado office location.

Investors who have suffered losses are encouraged to contact us at (800) 810-4262 for consultation. Investors may be able recover their losses through securities arbitration.  The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are experienced in representing investors in cases of selling away and brokerage firms failure to supervise their representatives.  Our consultations are free of charge and the firm is only compensated if you recover.

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