Articles Posted in Ponzi Scheme

shutterstock_160071281-300x168The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP continue to investigate the Woodbridge Group of Companies and the Woodbridge Mortgage Funds (Woodbridge).  The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has alleged that the Woodbridge operated a billion-dollar Ponzi scheme ensnaring about 8,400 investors. Woodbridge solicited hundreds of disreputable insurance agents and investment brokers to sell its false notes that the firm claimed to be backed by mortgages.  In plain sight to regulators, Woodbridge engaged in a nationwide investment fraud by offering the sale of unregistered securities.

According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) David Scholl (Scholl) appears to be an agent for Woodbridge fraudulent note sales.  Scholl was formerly associated with Planmember Securities Corporation (Planmember) out of the firm’s Grand Rapids, Michigan office location.  In December 2013, Scholl resigned from Planmember after the firm discovered his involvement with Woodbridge Mortgage.  Thereafter, the State of Michigan Sanctioned Scholl finding that Scholl sold 43 Woodbridge securities in the State of Michigan which were not federally covered, exempt from registration, or registered, in violation of the securities laws.

Federal securities laws and the FINRA rules require firms to monitor and supervise its employees, like Scholl, 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.  Supervisory failures allow brokers to engage in unsupervised misconduct that can include all manner improper conduct including recommending fraudulent investments.

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shutterstock_143685652-300x300According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) advisor Jennifer Ling (Ling), formerly associated with Axiom Capital Management, Inc. (Axiom Capital) in New York, New York has been subject to three customer complaints concerning her sale of Aequitas related promissory notes.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a complaint alleging that Oregon-based investment firm Aequitas Management, LLC (Aequitas Management) and its subsidiaries operated a Ponzi-like scheme that defrauded its 1,500 customers of approximately $350 million.  The SEC’s complaint also claimed that Aequitas’ CEO Robert Jesenik (Jesenik), executive vice president Brian Oliver (Oliver) and chief operating officer N. Scott Gillis (Gillis) were aware as early as 2014 that constraints in the company’s cash flow would make it difficult to meet existing obligations but continued to raise money anyway based on false premises in order to prop up the company.

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shutterstock_94632238-300x214The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are reviewing court documents and complaints related to The Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) charge that an equipment leasing company – Essex Capital Corporation (Essex) – and its founder Ralph Iannelli (Iannelli) defrauded investors in connection with sales of over $80 million in promissory notes.

In the pleading the SEC called Iannelli a securities fraud recidivist and alleged that his Essex from 2014 through 2017 sold investments through the sale of promissory notes that paid typically 8.5% per annum. The SEC claimed that investor returns were supposed to be based on the strength of Essex’s equipment leasing model.  However, the SEC charged that between 2014 and 2017 Iannelli raised over $80 million from approximately 70 promissory note investors through materially false and misleading information.  The SEC claims that Iannelli protected only his own financial interests and siphoned millions out Essex to himself from 2014 to the present.

According to the SEC, Essex sold approximately $8.4 million in promissory notes to 21 Daniel Investment Associates (Daniel Investment) clients since 2014 and approximately $23.36 million from Granger Management LLC (Granger) since 2015.  Granger clients invested through a pooled investment fund.

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shutterstock_186772637-300x199The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged  Brent Borland (Borland), the owner of a alternative investment firm, with misappropriating approximately $6 million in investor funds that were supposed to finance the construction of an international airport in Belize.  The SEC alleges that between 2014 and 2017, Borland sold more than $21 million of promissory notes in two companies – Borland Capital Group LLC and Belize Infrastructure Fund I, LLC – to dozens of investors as bridge financing for development of an international airport in Placencia, Belize.  Borland also purportedly promised investors that their investments would be protected by pledges of real estate as collateral.

According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) advisor Ahmed Gheith (Gheith) and two other registered representatives of Paulson Investment Company, LLC (Paulson Investment) may have been a referral source to Borland’s fraud.  As our firm previously reported, FINRA alleged that two registered representatives informed Gheith about a private offering related to a real estate development in Belize. The investment was described as a short-term note meant to raise money for the development of an airport and Gheith thereafter referred several customers to invest.  FINRA alleged that Gheith was paid $93,165 for his role in soliciting and referring the customer.

According to the SEC, instead of using the funds for their intended purpose Borland used millions of dollars of investor funds for personal expenses and unrelated business expenses, including mortgage and property tax payments on his Florida mansion, luxury automobiles, and almost $2.7 million to pay off credit cards.

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shutterstock_185190197-300x199The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP continue to investigate the Woodbridge Group of Companies and the Woodbridge Mortgage Funds (Woodbridge).  The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has alleged that the Woodbridge operated a billion-dollar Ponzi scheme ensaring about 8,400 investors. Woodbridge solicited hundreds of disreputable insurance agents and investment brokers to sell its false notes that the firm claimed to be backed by mortgages.  In plain sight to regulators, Woodbridge engaged in a nationwide investment fraud by offering the sale of unregistered securities.

One of Woodbridge’s agents was Jerry Raines (Raines) formerly associated with HD Vest Investment Services (HD Vest).  A dozen clients have alleged that Raines recommended Woodbridge causing a near complete loss of their investments.  Federal securities laws and the FINRA rules require firms to monitor and supervise its employees, like Raines, 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.  Supervisory failures allow brokers to engage in unsupervised misconduct that can include all manner improper conduct including recommending fraudulent investments.

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shutterstock_172399811-297x300The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP continue to investigate the Woodbridge Group of Companies and the Woodbridge Mortgage Funds (Woodbridge).  The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has alleged that the Woodbridge operated a billion-dollar Ponzi scheme ensnaring about 8,400 investors. Woodbridge solicited hundreds of disreputable insurance agents and investment brokers to sell its false notes that the firm claimed to be backed by mortgages.  In plain sight to regulators, Woodbridge engaged in a nationwide investment fraud by offering the sale of unregistered securities.

According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Robin “Rob” Reading (Reading) appears to be an agent for Woodbridge fraudulent note sales.  Reading was formerly associated with Sigma Financial Corporation (Sigma) out of the firm’s Highland, Michigan office location.  Thereafter, Reading was a registered advisor with Emerald Blue Advisors and Gradient Advisors, LLC.

The State of Michigan sanctioned Reading finding that Reading offered or sold eight Woodbridge securities in the State of Michigan which were not federally covered, exempt from registration, or registered, in violation of the securities laws.

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shutterstock_94632238-300x214The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating investor recovery options due to the alleged Ponzi Scheme orchestrated by Arthur Adams (Adams) and Madison Timber Properties LLC (Madison Timber) by The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The complaint against Adams and Madison Timber was unsealed on May 1, 2018 Mississippi federal court revealing the SEC’s fraud charges against the Mississippi company and its principal who has been accused of stealing from at least 150 investors in a $85 million Ponzi scheme.  Adams and Madison Timber agreed to a permanent injunction, an asset freeze, and expedited discovery.

The SEC’s complaint alleges that Adams misled investors by telling them that their money would be used to secure harvest timber rights from land owners in several states.  The SEC alleged that Adams promised investors annual returns of 12-15%.  However, Madison Timber is accused of never having obtained any harvesting rights at all. Instead, Adams allegedly forged deeds and other documents to purportedly reflect the value of the timber on the land.  The SEC also alleged that Adams paid early investors with later investors’ funds and convinced other investors to roll over their investments and remain invested in the scheme.  Adams is also accused of using investors’ money for his own personal expenses and to develop an unrelated real estate project.

In a parallel action, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Mississippi announced criminal charges against Adams.   Also in May 2018 Adams plead guilty to charges of wire fraud involving the Ponzi scheme which ensnared investors at least 14 states.

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shutterstock_184149845-300x246The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP continue to investigate the Woodbridge Group of Companies and the Woodbridge Mortgage Funds (Woodbridge).  The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has alleged that the Woodbridge operated a billion-dollar Ponzi scheme ensnaring about 8,400 investors. Woodbridge solicited hundreds of disreputable insurance agents and investment brokers to sell its false notes that the firm claimed to be backed by mortgages.  In plain sight to regulators, Woodbridge engaged in a nationwide investment fraud by offering the sale of unregistered securities.

According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Frank Dietrich (Dietrich) appears to be an agent for Woodbridge fraudulent note sales.  Dietrich was formerly associated with Quest Capital Strategies, Inc. (Quest Capital) out of the firm’s Lake Forest, California office location.  At least seven customers have accused Dietrich of selling them the fraudulent Woodbridge investment.  In addition, Qeust Capital terminated Dietrich in March 2018 for failing to disclose his involvement with Woodbridge.

Federal securities laws and the FINRA rules require firms to monitor and supervise its employees, like Dietrich, 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.  Supervisory failures allow brokers to engage in unsupervised misconduct that can include all manner improper conduct including recommending fraudulent investments.

Continue Reading

shutterstock_180342155-300x200The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP continue to investigate the Woodbridge Group of Companies and the Woodbridge Mortgage Funds (Woodbridge).  The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has alleged that the Woodbridge operated a billion-dollar Ponzi scheme ensnaring about 8,400 investors. Woodbridge solicited hundreds of disreputable insurance agents and investment brokers to sell its false notes that the firm claimed to be backed by mortgages.  In plain sight to regulators, Woodbridge engaged in a nationwide investment fraud by offering the sale of unregistered securities.

One of Woodbridge’s agents appears to be Dee Dee Brooks (Brooks) formerly associated with Signator Investors, Inc. (Signator Investors).  In June 2018 Brooks resigned from Signator Investors while under investigation concerning her involvement with the sale of unregistered securities.  Brooks also operated an insurance company called Surf City Insurance Services, Inc. (Surf City) which may have been used by Brooks to conceal investments.  Federal securities laws and the FINRA rules require firms to monitor and supervise its employees, like Brooks, 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.  Supervisory failures allow brokers to engage in unsupervised misconduct that can include all manner improper conduct including recommending fraudulent investments.

Continue Reading

shutterstock_62862913-259x300The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP continue to investigate the Woodbridge Group of Companies and the Woodbridge Mortgage Funds (Woodbridge).  The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has alleged that the Woodbridge operated a billion-dollar Ponzi scheme ensnaring about 8,400 investors. Woodbridge solicited hundreds of disreputable insurance agents and investment brokers to sell its false notes that the firm claimed to be backed by mortgages.  In plain sight to regulators, Woodbridge engaged in a nationwide investment fraud by offering the sale of unregistered securities.

According to public filings two of Woodbridge’s agents appears to be David and Sandra Ferwerda (Ferwerda).  David Ferwerda was formerly associated with Signator Investors, Inc. (Signator Investors) out of the firm’s Grand Rapids, Michigan office location.  In March 2018 Ferwerda was terminated from Signator Investors for involvement in the sale of unapproved outside investments in violation of firm policy.

Federal securities laws and the FINRA rules require firms to monitor and supervise its employees, like Ferwerda, 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.  Supervisory failures allow brokers to engage in unsupervised misconduct that can include all manner improper conduct including recommending fraudulent investments.

Continue Reading