Articles Tagged with Bloom Energy

This article continues my in depth look into how unsuspecting investors are sold speculative private placements.

While investors were told that Fisker Auto’s prospects were fantastic, nothing could have been further from the truth.  In February 2012, the DOE loan had been frozen after $192 million had been given to the company because it hadn’t hit certain milestones with its Karma car product.  The last payment Fisker had received from the DOE was in May 2011.  Yet, according to investors, Advanced Equities and First Allied continued to sell Fisker Auto shares without disclosing that the DOE was no longer backing the venture, presumptively because the auto makers chances of success had grown increasingly slim.

From December 2011 into 2012, Advanced Equities increasing began to run into fundraising problems.  As Fisker Auto fell into a increasing number of technical, delivery, and political problems with its cars the car maker’s ability to attract new capital plummeted.  Yet, the company still needed money.  So the brokerage firms turned to threatening investors by telling them that unless they agreed to invest more money into Fisker Auto their current shares will be diluted and their preferred stock will be converted to common stock.

The brokerage firm Advanced Equities, Inc. (Advanced Equities) specialized in so called late-stage private equity private placements.  Advanced Equities had been particularly active in the clean-tech space.  Through First Allied Securities, Inc. (First Allied), Advanced Equities private placements including Advanced Equities GreenTech Investments, LLC, AEI 2007 Venture Investments, LLC, AEI 2010 Cleantech Venture, LLC, and AEI Fisker Investments, LLC, were sold to hundreds of investors.  Customers have alleged that First Allied misrepresented the Advanced Equities private placements to investors and failed to conduct adequate due diligence concerning the offerings.

In 2007, First Allied was acquired by Advanced Equities Financial Corp. (AEF) and became a sister corporation to Advanced Equities.  At the time of the merger, Advanced Equities employed about 80 registered representatives while First Allied employed over 1,000 brokers.  Utilizing First Allied’s customer and broker resources, AEI vastly expanded marketing of private placements to First Allied customers.

Sales materials developed for Advanced Equities and presented to investors touted the private placements as “late stage equities” or companies that were 12-36 months from going public through an initial public offering (IPO).  The private placements were also represented as providing “higher near-term investment returns than the public equity markets” while possessing “greater short-term liquidity and lower risk profiles.”