Articles Tagged with TIC

shutterstock_143094109The securities lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against broker Daniel McPherson (McPherson). According to BrokerCheck records McPherson is subject to two customer complaints. The customer complaints against McPherson allege securities law violations that including unsuitable investments, misrepresentations, and breach of fiduciary duty among other claims.   The claims appear to relate to allegations regard direct participation products and limited partnerships such as equipment leasing and non-traded real estate investment trusts (Non-Traded REITs). Other products complained of include oil and gas private placements and tenant-in–common (TIC) investments.

Our firm has written numerous times about investor losses in these types of programs and private placement securities. All of these investments come with costs that make profiting from the investment extremely unlikely. For example, investors are destined to lose money in equipment leasing programs like LEAF Equipment Leasing Income Funds I-IV and ICON Leasing Funds Eleven and Twelve. The high costs and fees associated with these investments make significant returns virtual impossibility. Yet for all of their costs investors are in no way compensated for the additional risks of these products.

Brokers have a responsibility treat investors fairly which includes obligations such as making only suitable investments for the client. In order to make a suitable recommendation the broker must meet certain requirements. First, there must be reasonable basis for the recommendation the product or security based upon the broker’s investigation and due diligence into the investment’s properties including its benefits, risks, tax consequences, and other relevant factors. Second, the broker then must match the investment as being appropriate for the customer’s specific investment needs and objectives such as the client’s retirement status, long or short term goals, age, disability, income needs, or any other relevant factor.

shutterstock_12144202The investment attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are interested in speaking with investors of broker Tomas Velken (Velken). According to the BrokerCheck records kept by Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Velken has been the subject of at least 14 customer complaints. The customer complaints against Velken allege securities law violations that including unsuitable investments, misrepresentations, and breach of fiduciary duty among other claims.  Many of the complaints appear to be in connection with in connection with the sales of tenants-in-common (TICs).

The most recent complaint was filed in September 2015, and alleged $115,000 in losses due to a recommendation to invest in a real estate security transaction purchased in 2007. Another investor in April 2015, claimed $1,777,484 in damages due to a real estate security transactions purchased from 2005 through 2007. In March 2015, another investor alleged that in 2010 the broker made misrepresentations concerning an investment’s performance and claimed damages of $592,600.

As a background, TICs largely been sold unfairly as tax advantaged products that allow customers to defer capital gains taxes on appreciated real estate. TICs are private placements that have no secondary trading market and are therefore illiquid investments. In a typical TIC, the investor receives a fractional interest in the property along with other stakeholders and the profits are generated mostly through the efforts of the sponsor and the management company that manages and leases the property. The sponsor typically structures the TIC investment with up-front fees and expenses charged to the TIC and negotiates the sale price and loan for the acquired property. Because these fees are often higher than 15%, there is often no way for the investment to be profitable for the investor.

shutterstock_120556300The investment attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are interested in speaking with investors of broker Joseph Sturniolo (Sturniolo). According to the BrokerCheck records kept by Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Sturniolo has been the subject of at least 8 customer complaints. The customer complaints against Sturniolo allege securities law violations that including unsuitable investments, misrepresentations, and breach of fiduciary duty among other claims.

The most recent complaint was filed in June 2015, and alleged $400,692 in losses due to a recommendation to invest in a real estate security transaction. Another investor in April 2015, claimed $676,705 in damages due to a real estate security transaction.   Many of the complaints appear to be in connection with in connection with the sales of tenants-in-common (TICs).

As a background, TICs largely been sold unfairly as tax advantaged products that allow customers to defer capital gains taxes on appreciated real estate. TICs are private placements that have no secondary trading market and are therefore illiquid investments. In a typical TIC, the investor receives a fractional interest in the property along with other stakeholders and the profits are generated mostly through the efforts of the sponsor and the management company that manages and leases the property. The sponsor typically structures the TIC investment with up-front fees and expenses charged to the TIC and negotiates the sale price and loan for the acquired property. Because these fees are often higher than 15%, there is often no way for the investment to be profitable for the investor.

shutterstock_61848763According to the BrokerCheck records kept by Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) broker Eric Wegner (Wegner) has been the subject of at least 5 customer complaints and two financial disclosures. Customers have filed complaints against Wegner alleging a number of securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments, misrepresentations, breach of fiduciary duty, and false statements mostly in connection with recommendations to invest in private placements such as tenants-in-common (TICs) interests. In addition, one complaint involves a dispute over a variable annuity recommendation.

Wegner entered the securities industry in 2000. From December 2002, until December 2008, Wegner was a registered representative with Sammons Securities Company, LLC. Thereafter, from January 2009, until February 2011, Wegner was associated with QA3 Financial Corp. From February 2011, until July 2013, Wegner was associated with Sigma Financial Corporation. Finally, Wegner is currently a registered representative with Cambridge Investment Research, Inc. out of the firm’s Delafield, Wisconsin office location.

TIC investments have led to devastating investor losses and are in almost all cases unsuitable products. The near certainty of failure of investing in TICs as a whole has led to the product virtually disappearing as an offered investment from most reputable brokerage firms.   According to InvestmentNews “At the height of the TIC market in 2006, 71 sponsors raised $3.65 billion in equity from TICs and DSTs…TICs now are all but extinct because of the fallout from the credit crisis.” In fact, TICs recommendations have been a major contributor to bankrupting brokerage firms. For example, 43 of the 92 broker-dealers that sold TICs sponsored by DBSI Inc., a company whose executives were later charged with running a Ponzi scheme, a staggering 47% of firms that sold DBSI are no longer in business.

shutterstock_180341738According to the BrokerCheck records kept by Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) broker John Schooler (Schooler) has been hit with at least 26 customer complaints over his career. Customers have filed complaints against Schooler alleging securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments, negligence, misrepresentations, breach of fiduciary duty, violation of blue sky statutes in several states, and fraud among other claims. The claims against Schooler involve various types of securities including private placements, direct participation programs and limited partnerships which include investments like oil & gas, non-traded real estate investment trusts (Non-Traded REITs), equipment leasing programs, and tenants-in-common (TICs). The majority these products are high commission based products that often pay broker commission of between 7-10%. As the research now shows these products are arguably always unsuitable for investors because they do not compensate investors for their substantial risks. See Controversy Over Non-Traded REITs: Should These Products Be Sold to Investors? Part II

Schooler entered the securities industry in 1993. From 1994, until July 2011, Schooler was associated with WFP Securities. From June 2011, until July 2011, Schooler became associated with JRL Capital Corporation. Finally, Since July 2011, Schooler has been associated with First Financial Equity Corporation out of the firm’s Scottdale, Arizona office location.

As a background, a Non-Traded REIT is a security that invests in different types of real estate assets such as commercial, residential, or other specialty niche real estate markets such as strip malls, hotels, storage, and other industries. There are publicly traded REITs that are bought and sold on an exchange with similar liquidity to traditional assets like stocks and bonds. However, Non-traded REITs are sold only through broker-dealers, are illiquid, have no or limited secondary market and redemption options, and can only be liquidated on terms dictated by the issuer, which may be changed at any time and without prior warning.

shutterstock_175000886According to the BrokerCheck records kept by Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) broker John Notman (Notman) has been the subject to an astonishing 31 customer complaints along with two firm terminations for cause. The customer complaints against Notman allege a number of securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments and misrepresentations and false statements among other claims. Many of the complaints involve Notman’s sales of tenants-in-common (TICs). These claims along alleged combined investor losses of well over $20,000,000.

Notman entered the securities industry in 1982. From March 2003, until September 2012, Notman was registered with Berthel, Fisher & Company Financial Services, Inc (Berthel Fisher). In September 2012, Berthel Fisher filed a notice of termination Form U-5 stating that the reason for terminating Notman from the firm was due to his failure to report certain financial disclosures.

As a background, TICs largely been sold unfairly as tax advantaged products that allow customers to defer capital gains taxes on appreciated real estate. TICs are private placements that have no secondary trading market and are therefore illiquid investments. In a typical TIC, the investor receives a fractional interest in the property along with other stakeholders and the profits are generated mostly through the efforts of the sponsor and the management company that manages and leases the property. The sponsor typically structures the TIC investment with up-front fees and expenses charged to the TIC and negotiates the sale price and loan for the acquired property. Because these fees are often higher than 15%, there is often no way for the investment to be profitable for the investor.

shutterstock_177577832According to the BrokerCheck records kept by Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) broker Mark Kosanke (Kosanke) has been the subject of at least two customer complaints. The customer complaints against Kosanke allege a number of securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments and misrepresentations and false statements among other claims. The securities involved in the customer disputes are tenants-in-common (TICs).

Kosanke entered the securities industry in 1994. From 2000, until July 2006, Kosanke was registered with Questar Capital Corporation. From July 2006, until August 2010, Kosanke was associated with Professional Asset Management, Inc. Thereafter, from August 2010, Kosanke was registered with brokerage firm Concorde Investment Services, LLC.

As a background, TICs largely been sold unfairly as tax advantaged products that allow customers to defer capital gains taxes on appreciated real estate. TICs are private placements that have no secondary trading market and are therefore illiquid investments. In a typical TIC, the investor receives a fractional interest in the property along with other stakeholders and the profits are generated mostly through the efforts of the sponsor and the management company that manages and leases the property. The sponsor typically structures the TIC investment with up-front fees and expenses charged to the TIC and negotiates the sale price and loan for the acquired property. Because these fees are often higher than 15%, there is often no way for the investment to be profitable for the investor.

shutterstock_20354398The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP is investigating a series of complaints against broker William Sheehan (Sheehan). According to Sheehan’s BrokerCheck records the broker has been the subject of 7 investor complaints since 2010. That many claims against one broker is rare. According to InvestmentNews, only about 12% of financial advisors have any type of disclosure event on their records. Thus the number of brokers receiving eight complaints is exceedingly small.

The complaints concerning Sheehan’s activities at several brokerage firms. From July 2004, through October 2007, Sheehan was associated with Investors Capital Corp. (ICC) Next, from October 2007 until January 2010, Sheehan was a registered representative of Omni Brokerage, Inc. Thereafter, Sheehan went back to ICC until October 2012. Finally, Sheehan is currently registered with DFPG Investments, Inc.

Many of the complaints against Sheehan involve allegations investment recommendations into real estate securities and limited partnership interests in tenants-in-common (TICs). TIC investments have come under fire by the customers and even within the securities industry. Indeed, due to the failure of the TIC investment strategy as a whole across the securities industry, TIC investments have virtually disappeared as offered investments.   According to InvestmentNews “At the height of the TIC market in 2006, 71 sponsors raised $3.65 billion in equity from TICs and DSTs…TICs now are all but extinct because of the fallout from the credit crisis.” In fact, TIC recommendations have been a major contributor to bankrupting several brokerage firms. For example, InvestmentNews found that 43 of the 92 broker-dealers that sold TICs sponsored by DBSI Inc., a company whose executives were later charged with running a Ponzi scheme, a staggering 47% of firms that sold DBSI are no longer in business.

shutterstock_163885049As reported in InvestmentNews, three members of a real estate partnership that sells private placements in the real estate space are in the middle of a legal dispute that could potentially endanger millions of dollars in loans and investor capital as a result. The dispute is among the owners of Gemini Real Estate Advisors and began earlier this year when William Obeid, one of the partners, asked the other two partners, Christopher La Mack and Dante Massaro, to restructure the company to reflect certain areas of expertise. Those talks soon broke down and have now ended up in court.

Gemini Real Estate Advisors oversees a real estate portfolio of more than $1 billion and was founded in 2003. The complaint alleges that Mr. Obeid abused his position for personal gain through concealed unauthorized transfers of company funds and hiring of family members at inflated salaries. Thereafter, Mr. Obeid filed his own complaint in New York against Mr. La Mack and Mr. Massaro. alleging that the two other Gemini partners had proposed a business divorce and have acted in an effort to freeze him out in order to strengthen their negotiation position in discussions concerning a buyout of Mr. Obeid’s interest.

According to Mr. Obeid’s lawsuit, his partners’ strategy would harm Gemini and investors, by paralyzing Gemini’s operations, causing existing development projects to become distressed, and risk default on more than $97 million in loans and $15 million of investors’ equity.

shutterstock_102242143According to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s BrokerCheck system, there have been four customer complaints filed against former Sigma Financial Corporation (Sigma) and current Charles Schwab broker, Mark Johanson (Johanson) stemming from unsuitable Tenants-in-Common (TIC) investments.

Sales of TICs exploded during the early 2000s from approximately $150 million in 2001 to approximately $2 billion by 2004. TICs are private placements that have no secondary trading market and are therefore illiquid investments. These products were promoted as appropriate section 1031 exchanges in which an investor obtains an undivided fractional interest in real property. In a typical TIC, the profits are generated mostly through the efforts of the sponsor and the management company that manages and leases the property. The sponsor typically structures the TIC investment with up-front fees and expenses charged to the TIC and negotiates the sale price and loan for the acquired property.

TIC investments entail significant risks. A TIC investor runs the risk of holding the property for a significant amount of time and that subsequent sales of the property may occur at a discount to the value of the real property interest. FINRA has also warned that the fees and expenses associated with TICs, including sponsor costs, can outweigh the any potential tax benefits associated with a Section 1031 Exchange. That is, the TIC product itself may be a defective product because its costs outweigh any potential investment value for a customer. FINRA also instructed members that they have an obligation to comply with all applicable conduct rules when selling TICs by ensuring that promotional materials used are fair, accurate, and balanced.