Investors have filed a class action complaint against Berthel Fisher & Co. Financial Services Inc. (Berthel Fisher) and CEO and founder Thomas Berthel for allegedly failing to perform due diligence on the Thompson National Properties (TNP) 2008 Participating Notes Program. TNP 2008 is a non-traded Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) created by Anthony Thompson in 2008.
Unlike traded REITs, non-traded REITs do not trade on a securities exchange, are illiquid for eight years or more, have high broker commissions and fees, and are exposed to greater risks. In recent years, increased volatility in stock markets led many brokers to recommend REITs to investors as a way to invest in a stable income producing investment. Some non-traded REITs have claimed to offer stable returns while the real estate market has undergone extreme volatility. Both the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) have recently noted that REITs may not be as safe and stable as sometimes claimed. In a Investor Alert, FINRA noted that a common sales tactic of brokers is to sell non-traded REITs claiming that they are able to eliminate volatility. However, since the REITs often determines the value of their own assets, investors may simply not be informed about the declining value of their investment.
The complaint against Berthel Fisher was filed on July 8, 2013 in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Iowa. Berthel Fisher was TNP 2008’s underwriter and managing broker-dealer. Berthel Fisher has been being accused of simply ignoring and failing to investigate red flags that pointed to misrepresentations and omissions. In addition, the complaint also alleges that Berthel Fisher’s TNP 2008 due diligence failures allowed the fund to act like a Ponzi scheme by paying old investors through funds raised by new investors. According to the complaint, Berthel Fisher managed to raise more than $26 million from 200 investors. However, the complaint alleges that Berthel Fisher provided many investors with outdated offering materials that misled investors and hid the catastrophic losses TNP had already suffered while soliciting new investor capital.
The TNP 2008 is not the only Thompson product to have legal issues; investors of TNP Santa Monica Boulevard have also filed a class action against TNP and Thompson in California. The investors’ allegations are similar to those in the TNP 2008 complaint.
The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are experienced in investigating claims concerning non-traded REITs. Our attorneys can help you detect and uncover suspicious activity in your accounts. Our consultations are free of charge and the firm is only compensated if you recover. Call (800) 810-4262 to speak with an attorney.