The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP continue to investigate the Massachusetts Securities Division’s enforcement action and administrative complaint against ARO Equity, LLC (ARO Equity), Thomas David Renison (Renison), and Timothy James Allcott (Allcott). The complaint alleges that ARO Equity is Ponzi-scheme.
Upon information and belief former broker Barry Horowitz (Horowitz) recommended Renison and ARO Equity to his investment and legal clients. Horowitz was employed by Lincoln Financial Securities Corporation (Lincoln Financial) until August 2018. At the same time Horowitz worked as an attorney with Nirenstein, Horowitz & Associates, P.C.
In the ARO Equity fraud, the state of Massachusetts claimed that Allcott was the manager of ARO Equity and together with Renison took $5.8 million of investor funds since August 2015. The complaint alleges that these funds were raised through the sale of unsecured promissory notes promising 8-12% annual returns over three to five-year terms. The complaint alleges that investors made significant investments from their retirement accounts by transferring qualified retirement assets to a self-directed IRA to invest in ARO Equity. Despite representations of safety, the complaint alleged that ARO Equity principals have received undisclosed and excessive commission payments and executive compensation for soliciting investments and bears the hallmarks of a Ponzi scheme. In fact, the complaint claims that ARO Equity has only “invested” approximately half of the money received from investors and lost most of it.
If Horowitz recommended ARO Equity to clients such sales would conform to 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. When advisors convert or misappropriate funds they often created businesses or other vehicles to serve as a cover for the theft 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.
Horowitz entered the securities industry in 1995. From 1995 until August 2018 Horowitz had been associated with Lincoln Financial out of the firm’s Glastonbury, Connecticut 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.