Articles Tagged with REIT investment fraud

shutterstock_132704474-300x200The securities lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating recommendations by brokerage firms for their clients to invest in Carey Watermark Investors 2 aka Watermark Lodging Trust – a non-traded real estate investment trust (non-traded REIT).  Carey Watermark Investors 2 originally sold shares for $10.00.  The fund claims to have an estimated net asset value per share of $11.41.  However, secondary market trading sources cite a far smaller value at only $5.50 a share – implying that the trading markets anticipate that Carey Watermark Investors 2 has substantially dropped in value.

As a background, Watermark Lodging Trust claims to be a premier lodging REIT with a portfolio of high-quality lodging assets led by an internal management team with a distinctive record of stockholder value creation. WLT claims to have been formed to take advantage of current and future opportunities in the lodging industry and seeks to provide investors with attractive, risk-adjusted returns and long-term growth in value.

Thereafter, on April 13, 2020, Carey Watermark Investors 2 and Carey Watermark Investors 1 merged in an all-stock transaction to create Watermark Lodging Trust.  In addition, since March 2020 the REIT has suspended distributions due to the reduced travel demand and related financial impact resulting from COVID-19.

In May 2020 the company filed a notice with the SEC stating that “approximately $277 million of indebtedness is scheduled to mature after the date of this Form 8-K through December 31, 2020. This indebtedness is nonrecourse mortgage indebtedness and the Company has extension options with respect to a portion of such indebtedness. If the Company’s lenders do not provide covenant relief or if the Company is unable to repay, refinance or extend any such indebtedness, the lenders may declare events of default and seek to foreclose on the underlying hotels. We may also seek to give properties back to the lenders. We have begun active efforts to raise capital through a variety of strategies, including, without limitation, sales of assets, potentially at discounted prices; incurrences of debt; joint venture arrangements; and/or issuances of equity securities in transactions which may be dilutive to our stockholders.”

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shutterstock_156562427-300x200The securities lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating recommendations by brokerage firms for their clients to invest in Strategic Student & Senior Housing Trust (SSSHT) – a non-traded real estate investment trust (non-traded REIT).  Strategic Student & Senior Housing Trust has stopped distributing a dividend leaving investors with no returns for the time being.  As is too common in the brokerage industry, firms fail to understand the flawed non-traded REIT business model and only recommend these products for their 7% commissions – not because they benefit investors.

Strategic Student & Senior Housing Trust has been particularly hard hit in the recent recession due to the nature of its investments properties.  Strategic Student and Senior Housing Trust is a public, non-traded REIT focused exclusively on assets in the student housing and senior housing areas. The fund is premised on investing in two areas “with strong demographic drivers from college students and baby boomers” according to its website.

The fund states that SSSHT intends to take advantage of the growing demand for recession-resistant asset classes and desirable demographic trends.  The REIT states that it believes that SSSHT can provide stability, diversification, income, and potential growth over the long-term.

However, in an April 2020 prospectus update, Strategic Student & Senior Housing Trust stated that it incurred a net loss of approximately $19.6 million for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019. Further, the REITs accumulated losses are approximately $41.8 million as of December 31, 2019.  Moreover, due to the current recession the REIT suspended its primary offering while still early in its acquisition stage.  Strategic Student & Senior Housing Trust warned that its operations may not be profitable in 2020.

Further Strategic Student & Senior Housing Trust investors are now trapped in the REIT when in March 2020, when the REIT’s board of directors determined to suspend the share redemption program with respect to common stockholders effective as of May 3, 2020.  The REIT stated that until it can establish a net asset value per share it was not currently possible to determine accurately redeem or sell shares.

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shutterstock_112866430-300x199Advisor Yvonne Silguero (Silguero), currently employed by LPL Financial LLC (LPL Financial) has been subject to at least two customer complaints during the course of her career.  According to a BrokerCheck report the customer complaints concerns alternative investments such as direct participation products (DPPs) like non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs), oil & gas programs, annuities, and equipment leasing programs.  The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP have represented dozens of investors who suffered losses caused by these types of high risk, low reward products.

In August 2019 a customer complained that Silguero violated the securities laws by alleging that Silguero engaged in sales practice violations related to negligence, misrepresentations, breach of fiduciary duty from July 2014 through October 2018 concerning alternative investments. The claim alleges $500,000 in damages and is currently pending.

In April 2017 a customer complained that Silguero violated the securities laws by alleging that Silguero engaged in sales practice violations related to violations of the Texas State Securities Statutes, negligent misrepresentations, unsuitable investment recommendations and violations of the FINRA Rules.  The claim alleged $3,759,713 in damages and went to hearing.  The arbitration panel found LPL Financial liable and awarded $864,839 in damages, $340,000 in attorneys’ fees, and $350,000 in additional damages.

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shutterstock_103681238-300x300Advisor William Gordon (Gordon), currently employed by Capital Financial Services, Inc. (Capital Financial) has been subject to at least 13 customer complaints and one regulatory complaint.  According to a BrokerCheck report most of the customer complaints concern alternative investments and direct participation products (DPPs) such as private placements, tenants-in-common trusts, non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs), oil & gas programs, annuities, and equipment leasing programs.  The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP have extensive experience handling investor losses caused by these types of products.

In January 2019 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Gordon violated the securities laws including unsuitability, misrepresentation and omissions, and breach of fiduciary duty causing $200,000 in damages.  The claim is currently pending.

In January 2013 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Gordon violated the securities laws including unsuitability causing $300,964 in damages.  The claim settled.

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shutterstock_159036452-257x300Former First Allied Securities, Inc. (First Allied) broker Sean Brady (Brady) has been subject to at least six customer complaints, one employment termination for cause, and one regulatory action resulting in a bar from the industry.  According to a BrokerCheck report many of the customer complaints concern alternative investments and direct participation products (DPPs) such as non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs).  The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP have extensive experience handling investor losses caused by these types of products.

In October 2017 First Allied terminated Brady on allegations that he violated the firm’s policies pertaining to client falsification of signature on documents, text messaging, and consolidated account reports.  Thereafter, Brady was subject to a FINRA investigation concerning his sales practices.  FINRA found that Brady failed to provide the regulator with information and documents requested resulting in a automatic industry bar.

The most recent customer complaint alleges Brady misrepresented her net worth, made an unsuitable recommendation, and made misrepresentations and omissions with respect to her investment from 2017 causing $265,000.  The claim is currently pending.

shutterstock_108591-300x199The securities lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating investor losses in Healthcare Trust, Inc. a non-traded real estate investment trust (Non-Traded REIT).  According to the firm’s website, Healthcare Trust is an investment trust which seeks to acquire a diversified portfolio of real estate properties focusing primarily on healthcare-related assets including medical office buildings, seniors housing, and other healthcare-related facilities.

According to a secondary market providers which allow investors to bid and sell illiquid products such as Non-Traded REITs, Healthcare Trust sells for just under $14.99 per share – a significant loss on the original purchase price of $25.00.

Our firm often handles cases involving direct participation products (DPPs), private placements, Non-Traded REITs, and other alternative investments.  These products are almost always unsuitable for middle class investors.  In addition, the brokers who sell them are paid additional commission in order to hype inferior quality investments providing perverse incentives for brokers to sell high risk and low reward investments.

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