Articles Tagged with Oppenheimer & Co.

shutterstock_160071281-300x168The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are currently representing investors who have been the victim of the Horizon Private Equity III, LLC (Horizon) scam.  Recently, the SEC has alleged that approximately 400 investors in Horizon were defrauded in a Ponzi scheme fashion out of over $110 million.  A number of Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. (Oppenheimer) advisors were involved in the scam including Horizon’s chief architect and mastermind John J. Woods (CRD# 1949233) and his families members including broth James Wallace Woods Jr. (CRD# 734272), and cousin Michael Jeremiah Mooney (CRD# 4037101).

Woods and his cohorts used and abused their trusted positions as financial advisors to solicit Horizon to their clients making claims that Horizon was a safe investment that generated 6-7% guaranteed returns, had a guaranteed rate of return, carried little risk and were extremely safe and conservative, and that the Horizon investment was sponsored or offered by Oppenheimer.  In reality, Horizon was a fraudulent venture that repaid old investors with funds raised from new investors.  Horizon had few to no risk disclosures and failed to provide investors with information as to the nature of the funds’ holdings or other information that investors should have been provided with.  When the SEC investigated Horizon III, the regulator found that by July 2021, Horizon III had liquid assets worth less than $16 million and had only invested $20 million in dubious small real estate projects.

Our firm is representing clients who have alleged that Oppenheimer permitted Woods and his co-conspirators to perpetrate this fraudulent scheme while turning a blind eye to numerous signs of fraud.  Our firm’s investigation has revealed that Woods has been under almost continuous litigation concerning his outside business activities since at least 2007.  Further, Oppenheimer was subpoenaed to produce documents and records relating to Woods’ outside business dealings in at least on litigation where Woods was accused of defrauding an investor to provide capital for one of Woods’ many businesses.  In addition, court records reveal that Woods stated under oath that his failed business ventures left him personally liable for loans totaling over $6 million.

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shutterstock_177792281According to the BrokerCheck records kept by Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) broker Luigi Mancusi (Mancusi) has been the subject of at least 4 customer complaints. The customer complaints against Mancusi allege securities law violations that claim unauthorized trading, unsuitable investments, misrepresentations, failure to supervise, and breach of fiduciary duty among other claims. The most recent complaint was filed in July 2015, and alleged $250,000 in losses due to unauthorized trading from November 2012 through November 2014. Another complaint was filed in July 2013 where the client alleged fraud and unsuitable investments given the client’s age, risk tolerance, and income need. The claimant alleged $322,000 in damages.

Mancusi entered the securities industry in 1992. From November 2002, until October 2012, Mancusi was associated with Wayne Hummer Investments L.L.C. From September 2012, onward Mancusi has been associated with Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. Mancusi is also associated with David A. Noyes & Company out of the firm’s Lake Forrest, Illinois branch office location.

All advisers have a fundamental responsibility to deal fairly with investors including making suitable investment recommendations. In order to make suitable recommendations the broker must have a reasonable basis for recommending the product or security based upon the broker’s investigation of the investments properties including its benefits, risks, tax consequences, and other relevant factors. In addition, the broker must also understand the customer’s specific investment objectives to determine whether or not the specific product or security being recommended is appropriate for the customer based upon their needs.

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