Newscast Media WASHINGTON—The Securities and Exchange Commission has
announced enforcement actions against 36 municipal underwriting firms for violations in
municipal bond offerings. The cases are the first brought against underwriters under the
Municipalities Continuing Disclosure Cooperation (MCDC) Initiative, a voluntary
self-reporting program targeting material misstatements and omissions in municipal
bond offering documents.
The Enforcement Division initiative announced in March 2014, offered favorable
settlement terms to municipal bond underwriters and issuers who self-reported
securities law violations. The first issuer charged under the initiative settled with the
SEC in July 2014. CONTINUE TO FULL ARTICLE>>
Newscast Media WASHINGTON—The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced charges against a San Diego-based investment advisory firm and its president for allegedly steering winning trades to favored clients and lying about how certain money was being spent. The SEC has also been aggressively pursuing lawyers who defraud and short-change their clients, by lying about the actual settlement amounts that were disbursed, while keeping the bulk of the money.
The SEC’s Enforcement Division alleges that Ian O. Mausner and J.S. Oliver misused soft dollars, which are credits or rebates from a brokerage firm on commissions paid by clients for trades executed in the investment adviser’s client accounts.
Mausner and J.S. Oliver misappropriated more than $1.1 million in soft dollars for undisclosed purposes that in no way benefited clients, such as a payment to Mausner’s ex-wife related to their divorce.
“Mausner’s fraudulent schemes were a one-two punch that betrayed his clients and cost them millions of dollars,” said Marshall S. Sprung, Co-Chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Asset Management Unit. “Investment advisers must allocate trades and use soft dollars consistent with their fiduciary duty to put client interests first.”
The SEC also charged Douglas F. Drennan, a portfolio manager at J.S. Oliver, for his role in the soft dollar scheme.
According to the SEC, Drennan participated in the soft dollar scheme by submitting false information to support the misuse of money belonging to his clients, and approving some of the soft dollar payments to his own company.
The SEC’s investigation, which is continuing, has been conducted by Ronnie Lasky and C. Dabney O’Riordan of the Enforcement Division’s Asset Management Unit in the Los Angeles Regional Office. The SEC’s litigation will be led by David Van Havermaat, John Bulgozdy, and Ms. Lasky. The examination of J.S. Oliver was conducted by Ashish Ward, Eric Lee, and Pristine Chan of the Los Angeles office’s investment
adviser/investment company examination program.
Newscast Media WASHINGTON—The Securities and Exchange Commission today sanctioned a former portfolio manager at a Boulder, Colo.-based investment adviser for forging documents and misleading the firm’s chief compliance officer to conceal his failure to report personal trades.
An SEC investigation found that Carl Johns of Louisville, Colo., failed to pre-clear or report several hundred securities trades in his personal accounts as required under the federal securities laws and the code of ethics at Boulder Investment Advisers (BIA). Johns concealed the trades in quarterly and annual trading reports that he submitted to BIA by altering brokerage statements and other documents that he attached to those reports. Johns later tried to conceal his misconduct by creating false documents that purported to be pre-trade approvals, and misled the firm’s chief compliance officer in her investigation into his improper trading.
To settle the SEC’s charges – which are the agency’s first under Rule 38a-1(c) of the Investment Company Act for misleading and obstructing a chief compliance officer (CCO) – Johns agreed to pay more than $350,000 and be barred from the securities industry for at least five years.
“Securities industry professionals have an obligation to adhere to compliance policies, and they certainly must not interfere with the chief compliance officers who enforce those policies,” said Julie Lutz, Acting Co-Director of the SEC’s Denver Regional Office. “Johns set out to cover up his compliance failures by creating false documents and misleading his firm’s CCO.”
In settling the SEC’s charges, Johns has agreed to pay disgorgement of $231,169, prejudgment interest of $23,889, and a penalty of $100,000. Without admitting or denying the SEC’s findings, Johns consented to a five-year bar and a cease-and-desist order.
The SEC’s investigation was conducted by Michael Cates and Ian Karpel of the Denver Regional Office following an examination conducted by Craig Ellis, Bruce Ketter, and Thomas Piccone of the Denver office’s investment adviser/investment company examination program.
Newscast Media NEW YORK—A Goldman Sachs banker has been found liable for fraud in a failed investment scheme that faltered over failed subprime mortgage loans. The verdict could open the door to further claims by the bank’s customers.
A New York court on Thursday found former Goldman Sacs Inc. Vice President Fabrice Tourre liable on six of seven claims of fraud and other wrongdoing, in a major victory for financial regulators seeking to hold reckless bankers legally responsible for the 2007-2009 US mortgage crisis.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had accused 34-year-old Tourre of misleading investors into buying a flawed financial product called Abacas 2007-AC1, which was based on subprime mortgage loans. According to the SEC, Tourre failed to disclose to investors the full involvement of hedge fund billionaire John Paulson in the deal.
Paulson chose the subprime mortgages that underpinned the deal and then betted against them. He won $1 billion (756 million euros) while other investors, such as ACA and IKB Deutsche Industriebank AG, lost by approximately the same amount. Goldman Sachs also profited from millions in fees.
Some of Tourre’s emails became a focus of the testimony. In an email to his girlfriend in France at the time, he said that “the whole building is about to collapse anytime now.”
Goldman settled with the SEC in 2010 by paying a $550 million fine, without admitting or denying wrongdoing.
US District Judge Katherine Forrest is expected to decide on that later.
“We are gratified by the jury’s verdict,” said Andrew Ceresney, co-director of the SEC’s enforcement division. “We will continue to vigorously seek to hold accountable, and bring to trial when necessary, those who commit fraud on Wall Street.”
Source: Deutsche Welle
Newscast Media WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Securities and Exchange Commission today
announced the second-largest trading suspension in agency history as it continues its
“Operation Shell Expel” crackdown against the manipulation of microcap shell
companies that are ripe for fraud as they lay dormant in the over-the-counter
market. FULL STORY>>
Newscast Media DALLAS—The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced fraud charges and an asset freeze against a trader at a Dallas-based investment advisory firm who improperly profited by placing his own trades before executing large block trades for firm clients that had strong potential to increase the stock’s price.
The SEC alleges that Daniel Bergin, a senior equity trader at Cushing MLP Asset Management, secretly executed hundreds of trades through his wife’s accounts in a practice known as front running. Bergin illicitly profited by at least $520,000 by routinely purchasing securities in his wife’s accounts earlier the same day he placed much larger orders for the same securities on behalf of firm clients. Bergin concealed is lucrative trading by failing to disclose his wife’s accounts to the firm and avoiding pre-clearance of his trades in those accounts. Bergin also attempted to hide his wife’s accounts from SEC examiners.
“Bergin betrayed the trust of his clients by secretly using information about their trades to gain an unfair trading advantage and reap massive profits for himself,” said Marshall S. Sprung, Deputy Chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Asset Management Unit.
According to the SEC’s complaint filed yesterday in federal court in Dallas, many investment advisers to institutions employ traders to manage their exposure to market price risks and place these large client orders in advantageous market centers with sufficient trading quantities that minimize unfavorable price movements against client interests. Bergin is the trader primarily responsible for managing price exposures related to client orders for equity trades.
“Bergin’s misconduct is particularly egregious because his firm depended on him to manage market exposure and risk for its investments. Instead, he pitted his clients’ financial interests against his own,” said David R. Woodcock, Director of the SEC’s Fort Worth Regional Office.
The SEC appreciates the assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Newscast Media WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged a former employee at a Connecticut-based brokerage firm with scheming to personally profit from placing unauthorized orders to buy Apple stock. When the scheme backfired, it ultimately caused the firm to cease operations. David Miller, an institutional sales trader who lives in Rockville Centre, N.Y., has agreed to a partial settlement of the SEC’s charges. He also pleaded guilty today in a parallel criminal case.
The SEC alleges that Miller misrepresented to Rochdale Securities LLC that a customer had authorized the Apple orders and assumed the risk of loss on any resulting trades. The customer order was to purchase just 1,625 shares of Apple stock, but Miller instead entered a series of orders totaling 1.625 million shares at a cost of almost $1 billion. Miller planned to share in the customer’s profit if Apple’s stock profited, and if the stock decreased he would claim that he erred on the size of the order. The stock wound up decreasing after an earnings announcement later that day, and Rochdale was forced to cease operations in the wake of covering the losses suffered from the rogue trades.
“Miller’s scheme was deliberate, brazen, and ultimately ill-conceived,” said Daniel M. Hawke, Chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Market Abuse Unit. “This is a wake-up call to the brokerage industry that the unchecked conduct of even a single individual in a position of trust can pose grave risks to a firm and potentially to the markets and investors.”
According to the SEC’s complaint filed in federal court in Connecticut, Miller entered purchase orders for 1.625 million shares of Apple stock on Oct. 25, 2012, with the company’s earnings announcement expected later that day. His plan was to share in the customer’s profit from selling the shares if Apple’s stock price increased.
Alternatively, if Apple’s stock price decreased, Miller planned to claim that he inadvertently misinterpreted the size of the customer’s order, and Rochdale would then take responsibility for the unauthorized purchase and suffer the losses.
Newscast Media WASHINGTON— The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged a California-based lawyer who has been fraudulently churning out baseless legal opinion letters for penny stocks through his website without researching and evaluating the individual stock offerings.
Legal opinion letters are issued to transfer agents on behalf of holders of restricted stock seeking to sell the stock freely in the public markets. Transfer agents typically require a lawyer’s opinion explaining the legal basis for lifting the restriction on the stock and allowing it to be freely traded.
The SEC alleges that Brian Reiss of Huntington Beach, Calif., set up 144letters.com to promote his legal opinion letter business and advertise “volume discount” rates while noting “penny stocks not a problem.” Reiss steered potential customers to his website by making bids on search terms through Google’s AdWords, and then relied on a computer-generated template to draft his opinion letters within minutes absent any true analysis of the facts behind each stock offering. The letters from Reiss ultimately made false and misleading statements and facilitated the sale of securities in violation of the registration provisions of the federal securities laws.
“Reiss flouted his responsibilities as a gatekeeper in the issuance of stock, and churned out opinion letters to make a quick buck,” said Andrew M. Calamari, Director of the SEC’s New York Regional Office. “Attorneys who act as gatekeepers in our markets have a solemn responsibility to ensure that they provide accurate information to the marketplace.”
The SEC acknowledges the assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).
Newscast Media WASHINGTON, DC—The Securities and Exchange Commission announced charges and an asset freeze against an individual living in Illinois and two companies behind an investment scheme defrauding foreign investors seeking profitable returns and a legal path to U.S. residency through a federal visa program.
The SEC alleges that Anshoo R. Sethi created A Chicago Convention Center (ACCC) and Intercontinental Regional Center Trust of Chicago (IRCTC) and fraudulently sold more than $145 million in securities and collected $11 million in administrative fees from more than 250 investors primarily from China.
“Sethi orchestrated an elaborate scheme and exploited these investors’ dream of earning legal U.S. residence along with a positive return on their investment in a project that was not nearly the done deal that he portrayed,” said Stephen L. Cohen, Associate Director in the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. “The good news is that working closely with USCIS, we intervened early and stopped him from getting very
far, and the asset freeze preserves nearly all of the money invested.”
The SEC alleges that Sethi and his companies falsely boasted to investors that they had acquired all the necessary building permits and that several major hotel chains had signed onto the project. They also provided falsified documents to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) — the federal agency that administers the EB-5 program — in an attempt to secure the agency’s preliminary approval of the
project and investors’ provisional visas.
Newscast Media WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Securities and Exchange Commission charged a former executive at New York-based broker-dealer Jefferies & Co. with defrauding investors while selling mortgage-backed securities (MBS) in the wake of the financial crisis so he could generate additional revenue for his firm.
According to the SEC’s complaint filed in federal court in Connecticut, Jesse Litvak arranged trades for customers as part of his job as a managing director on the MBS desk at Jefferies. Litvak would buy a MBS from one customer and sell it to another customer, but on many occasions he lied about the price at which his firm had bought the MBS so he could re-sell it to the other customer at a higher price and
keep more money for the firm. On other occasions, Litvak misled purchasers by creating a fictional seller to purport that he was arranging a MBS trade between customers when in reality he was just selling MBS out of his firm’s inventory at a higher price. Because MBS are generally illiquid and difficult to price, it is particularly important for brokers to provide honest and accurate information.
The SEC alleges that Litvak generated more than $2.7 million in additional revenue for Jefferies through his deceit. His misconduct helped him improve his own standing at the firm, as his bonuses were determined in part by the amount of revenue he generated for the firm.
“Brokers must always tell their customers the truth, particularly in complex securities transactions in which it is difficult for investors to determine market prices on their own,” said George Canellos, Deputy Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement.
“Litvak repeatedly lied to his customers and invented facts to bring additional profits into his firm and ultimately his own pocket at their expense.”
The SEC’s complaint charges Litvak with violating the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws, particularly Section 10(b) of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5, and Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933.
Newscast Media CHARLOTTE, N.C—Bank of America Corp has announced a settlement deal with Fannie Mae of $11.6 billion for bad mortgages of nearly a decade’s worth of home loans, as a result of Bank of America’s acquisition of Countrywide Financial Corp. five years ago.
The agreement is also separate from an $8.5 billion foreclosure-abuse settlement between regulators and 10 banks, including Bank of America, additionally announced Monday. That pact is in addition to another settlement reached last February, where five large banks, including Bank of America, agreed to a $25 billion settlement with the Obama administration and 49 state attorneys general.
Under the deal announced Monday, the bank will pay $3.6 billion to Fannie Mae and buy back $6.75 billion in loans that the North Carolina-based bank and its Countrywide banking unit sold to the government agency from Jan. 1, 2000 through Dec. 31, 2008, according to the Washington Post.
In layman’s terms here’s what happened:
(i) Mortgages that were generated over the last decade were bundled together into Mortgage-Backed Securities, and placed into a pool.
(ii) The pools are then placed into a trust called a Real Estate Mortgage Investment Conduit Trust (REMIC) and a Trustee is appointed to oversee the trust.
(iii) The trustee then hires a servicer whose duty is to collect money on behalf of the REMIC trust, and the servicer is paid a small fee for collecting these monies from homeowners.
(iv) Meanwhile, the Mortgage-Backed Securities are sold on the secondary market as derivatives, which are insured with Credit Default Swaps in case the trust goes under.
(v) The mortgage changes hands as it is bought and sold multiple times on the secondary market throughout the world, making it virtually impossible to identify who owns the loan, due to the use of MERS (Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems) on the deed of trust. The lack of transparency of MERS prevents anyone from knowing the true and actual owner of the mortgage.
*It is the reason why when you send a “Qualified Written Request” to a servicer asking for the trust documents and the real owner of the loan, in 100 percent of the cases, the servicers cannot provide such information because the loan changed hands multiple times when bought and sold as a Mortgage Backed Security. This practice has clouded the titles of securitized mortgages from 2003-2010.
What went wrong
(vi) The problem with Bank of America and other banks that were sued is that all these mortgages were fraudulent, because the Notes were not transferred into the REMIC trusts. The trusts were empty!
(vii) To prevent the financial collapse, the banks declared the mortgages “toxic assets” and requested bailout money from the government under the Toxic Asset Relief Program (TARP), to halt a financial collapse. $16 trillion was extended.
According to an audit of the Federal Reserve by GAO (Government Accountability Office) below is some of the money the banks received:
Citigroup: $2.5 trillion ($2,500,000,000,000)
Morgan Stanley: $2.04 trillion ($2,040,000,000,000)
Merrill Lynch: $1.949 trillion ($1,949,000,000,000)
Bank of America: $1.344 trillion ($1,344,000,000,000)
Barclays PLC (United Kingdom): $868 billion ($868,000,000,000)
Bear Sterns: $853 billion ($853,000,000,000)
Goldman Sachs: $814 billion ($814,000,000,000)
Royal Bank of Scotland (UK): $541 billion ($541,000,000,000)
JP Morgan Chase: $391 billion ($391,000,000,000)
Deutsche Bank (Germany): $354 billion ($354,000,000,000)
UBS (Switzerland): $287 billion ($287,000,000,000)
Credit Suisse (Switzerland): $262 billion ($262,000,000,000)
Lehman Brothers: $183 billion ($183,000,000,000)
Bank of Scotland (United Kingdom): $181 billion ($181,000,000,000)
BNP Paribas (France): $175 billion ($175,000,000,000)
(viii) The banks receive trillions of dollars, and instead of correcting the defects, they sit on the money, and use some of it to buy up smaller failing banks.
(ix) Investors find out that the Mortgage-Backed Securities weren’t in fact mortgage-backed—they were useless pieces of paper. Lawsuits are filed. Banks settle.
(x) Government teams up with homeowners and whistleblowers reaching a multi-billion dollar settlement with the banks for foreclosure abuse.
The latest settlement between Bank of America and Fannie Mae falls within the sequence of events just described above.
Categories: News Tags: Bank of America class action lawsuit, bank of america foreclosure fraud, bank of america mortgage fraud, bank of america settlement fannie mae, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, mortgage foreclosure, mortgage fraud, securities and exchange commission, securities fraud
Newscast Media WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged four securities industry professionals with conducting a fraudulent penny stock scheme in which they illegally acquired more than one billion unregistered shares in microcap companies at deep discounts and then dumped them on the market for approximately $17 million in illicit profits while claiming bogus exemptions from the federal securities laws.
The SEC alleges that Danny Garber, Michael Manis, Kenneth Yellin, and Jordan Feinstein acquired shares at about 30 to 60 percent off the market price by misrepresenting to the penny stock companies that they intended to hold the shares for investment purposes rather than immediately re-selling them. Instead, they immediately sold the shares without registering them by purporting to rely on an exemption for transactions that are in compliance with certain types of state law exemptions.
However, no such state law exemptions were applicable to their transactions. To create the appearance that the claimed exemption was valid, they created virtual corporate presences in Minnesota, Texas, and Delaware. The SEC also charged 12 entities that they operated in connection with the scheme.
The SEC’s complaint alleges that Garber, Manis, Yellin, Feinstein and the named entities violated Sections 5(a), 5(c), and 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933; Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5. The SEC’s complaint seeks a final judgment, among other things, ordering all of the defendants to pay disgorgement, prejudgment interest and financial penalties; permanently enjoining all the defendants from future violations of the securities laws; and permanently enjoining all the defendants from participating in penny stock offerings.
Newscast Media WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Securities and Exchange Commission announced insider trading charges against a Brazilian ex-banker for his role in a scheme to illegally trade Burger King securities. The SEC alleges that Igor Cornelsen and his firm through which he made trades – Bainbridge Group – reaped illicit profits of more than $1.68 million by trading Burger King options based on confidential information ahead of the company’s September 2010 announcement that it was being acquired by a New York private equity firm.
Cornelsen is now a resident of the Bahamas with a home in South Florida after holding high-ranking positions at several banks in Brazil before his retirement. He sought inside information from his broker Waldyr Da Silva Prado Neto by sending him e-mails with such masked references as, “Is the sandwich deal going to happen?” Prado was stealing the inside information from another Wells Fargo brokerage customer involved in the Burger King deal.
Cornelsen and Bainbridge Group agreed to pay more than $5.1 million to settle the SEC’s charges. The settlement is subject to court approval. The litigation continues against Prado, whose assets have been frozen by the court.
“Cornelsen shamelessly prodded Prado for details on ‘the sandwich deal’ and Prado happily obliged to satisfy his customer’s appetite for inside information,” said Daniel M. Hawke, Chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Market Abuse Unit and Director of the Philadelphia Regional Office.
Sanjay Wadhwa, Deputy Chief of the Market Abuse Unit and Associate Director of the New York Regional Office, added, “Foreign investors who access the U.S. capital markets must play by the rules and not rig the market in their favor, otherwise they face getting caught by the SEC and paying a hefty price as Cornelsen is here.”
Newscast Media ATLANTA, Ga—The Securities and Exchange Commission announced charges against a private fund manager and his Atlanta-based investment advisory firm for defrauding investors in a purported “fund-of-funds” and then trying to hide trading losses by creating new private funds to make money to pay back the original fund investors in Ponzi-like fashion.
The SEC is seeking an emergency court order to freeze the assets of Angelo A. Alleca and Summit Wealth Management Inc. and prevent further investor losses, which are estimated to be $17 million among approximately 200 clients.
“Alleca told Summit Wealth clients that he was investing their money in funds, but instead he was rolling the dice in the stock market without success,” said Bruce Karpati, Chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Asset Management Unit. “Rather than fess up about his trading losses, Alleca tried a cover up by creating new funds. Instead of winning back the money, he just compounded his fraud by suffering further losses.”
After receiving a tip, the SEC initiated an examination of Summit Wealth. As SEC examiners noticed something was amiss at the firm, they immediately coordinated with SEC enforcement attorneys to gather and assess evidence.
“SEC examiners and attorneys acted swiftly after receiving a tip about possible wrongdoing at the firm, and have mounted an aggressive effort to put a stop to Alleca’s fraud before more investors are harmed,” said William P. Hicks, Associate Director of the SEC’s Atlanta Regional Office.
According to the SEC’s complaint filed late yesterday in federal court in Atlanta, Alleca and Summit Wealth Management offered and sold interests in Summit Fund, which they told their clients was operating as a fund-of-funds – meaning they were investing their money in other funds and investment products rather than directly in stocks and other securities.
The SEC’s complaint charges Alleca, Summit Wealth Management, and the three funds with violations of the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws.
Newscast Media WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Securities and Exchange Commission obtained a temporary restraining order and asset freeze against a Utah man and company charged with operating a real estate-based Ponzi scheme that bilked $100 million from investors nationwide.
The SEC’s complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Utah, names Wayne L. Palmer and his firm, National Note of Utah, LC, both of West Jordan, Utah. According to the complaint, Palmer told investors that their money would be used to buy mortgage notes and real estate assets, or to make real estate loans. More than 600 individuals invested, lured by promises of annual returns of 12 percent, the SEC alleged.
“Palmer promised double-digit returns at his real estate seminars, where investors learned the hard way about his lies and deceit,” said Kenneth Israel, Director of the SEC’s Salt Lake City Regional Office.
The SEC’s complaint charges National Note and Palmer with violating the anti-fraud and securities registration provisions of U.S. securities laws. Palmer also faces charges that he operated as an unregistered broker-dealer.
Section 17(a)(2) – Anti-Fraud Authority of the Securities Act of 1933 states:
“It shall be unlawful for any person in the offer or sale of any securities or any security-based swap agreement (as defined in section 206B of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act [15 USCS § 78c note]) by the use of any means or instruments of transportation or communication in interstate commerce or by use of the mails, directly or indirectly (1) to employ any device, scheme, or artifice to defraud, or (2) to obtain money or property by means of any untrue statement of a material fact or any omission to state a material fact necessary in order to make the statements made, in light of the circumstances under which they were made, not misleading.” Click here to download or read entire complaint.
Newscast Media WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged 14 sales agents who misled investors and illegally sold securities for a Long Island-based investment firm at the center of a $415 million Ponzi scheme.
The SEC alleges that the sales agents — which include four sets of siblings — falsely promised investor returns as high as 12 to 14 percent in several weeks when they sold investments offered by Agape World Inc. They also misled investors to believe that only 1 percent of their principal was at risk. The Agape securities they peddled were actually non-existent, and investors were merely lured into a Ponzi scheme
where earlier investors were paid with new investor funds.
The sales agents turned a blind eye to red flags of fraud and sold the investments without hesitation, receiving more than $52 million in commissions and payments out of investor funds. None of these sales agents were registered with the SEC to sell securities, nor were they associated with a registered broker or dealer. Agape also was not registered with the SEC.
“This Ponzi scheme spread like wildfire through Long Island’s middle-class communities because this small group of individuals blindly promoted the offerings as particularly safe and profitable,” said Andrew M. Calamari, Acting Regional Director for the SEC’s New York Regional Office. “These sales agents raked in commissions without regard for investors or any apparent concern for Agape’s financial distress and inability to meet investor redemptions.”
According to the SEC’s complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, more than 5,000 investors nationwide were impacted by the scheme that lasted from 2005 to January 2009, when Agape’s president and organizer of the scheme Nicholas J. Cosmo was arrested. He was later sentenced to
300 months in prison and ordered to pay more than $179 million in restitution. The SEC alleges that the sales agents misrepresented to investors that their money would be used to make high-interest bridge loans to commercial borrowers or businesses that accepted credit cards. Little, if any, investor money actually went
toward this purpose. Investor funds were instead used for Ponzi scheme payments and the agents’ sales commissions, and Cosmo lost $80 million while trading futures in personal accounts.
The SEC’s complaint charges the following sales agents:
* Brothers Bryan Arias and Hugo A. Arias of Maspeth, N.Y., who offered and
sold Agape securities to at least 195 and 1,419 investors respectively. They
received more than $9.5 million combined in commissions and payments.
* Brothers Anthony C. Ciccone of Locust Valley, N.Y. and Salvatore Ciccone
of Maspeth, N.Y., who offered and sold Agape securities to at least 535 and
348 investors respectively. They received more than $17 million combined in
commissions and payments.
* Brothers Jason A. Keryc of Wantagh, N.Y. and Michael D. Keryc of Baldwin,
N.Y. Jason Keryc offered and sold Agape securities to at least 1,617 investors
and received at least $16 million in commissions and payments. He also paid
sub-brokers, including his brother, at least $7.4 million to sell Agape securities
for him. Michael Keryc offered and sold Agape securities to at least 177
investors and received more than $1 million in commissions and payments.
* Siblings Martin C. Hartmann III of Massapequa, N.Y. and Laura Ann Tordy of
Wantagh, N.Y. Hartmann enlisted his sister in his sales effort while he worked
as a sub-broker for Jason Keryc. Hartmann and Tordy offered and sold Agape
securities to at least 441 investors and received more than $3.5 million in
commissions and payments.
* Christopher E. Curran of Amityville, N.Y., who worked as a sub-broker for
Keryc. Curran offered and sold Agape securities to at least 132 investors and
received at least $531,890 in commissions and payments.
* Ryan K. Dunaske of Ronkonkoma, N.Y., who worked as a sub-broker for Keryc.
Dunaske offered and sold Agape securities to at least 70 investors and
received more than $700,000 in commissions and payments.
* Michael P. Dunne of Massapequa, N.Y., who worked as a sub-broker for
Keryc. Dunne offered and sold Agape securities to at least 99 investors and
received more than $1.5 million in commissions and payments.
* Diane Kaylor of Bethpage, N.Y., who offered and sold Agape securities to at
least 249 investors and received at least $3.7 million in commissions and
* Anthony Massaro of Boynton Beach, Fla., who offered and sold Agape
securities to at least 826 investors and received more than $5.9 million in
commissions and payments.
* Ronald R. Roaldsen, Jr. of Wantagh, N.Y., who worked as a sub-broker for
Keryc. Roaldsen offered and sold Agape securities to at least 159 investors and
received more than $600,000 in commissions and payments.
The SEC’s complaint charges Bryan and Hugo Arias, Anthony and Salvatore Ciccone, Jason and Michael Keryc, Dunne, Hartmann, Kaylor, Massaro, and Tordy with violations of Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder. The complaint charges all 14 defendants with violations of Section 15(a) of the Exchange Act, and Sections 5(a) and 5(c) of the Securities Act.
Newscast Media NEW YORK—The Securities and Exchange Commission charged a former executive at Yahoo! Inc. and a former mutual fund manager at a subsidiary of Ameriprise Financial Inc. with insider trading on confidential information about a search engine partnership between Yahoo and Microsoft Corporation.
The SEC alleges that Robert W. Kwok, who was Yahoo’s senior director of business management, breached his duty to the company when he told Reema D. Shah in July 2009 that a deal between Yahoo and Microsoft would be announced soon. Shah had reached out to Kwok amid market rumors of an impending partnership between the two companies, and Kwok told her the information was kept quiet at Yahoo and only a few people knew of the coming announcement. Based on Kwok’s illegal tip, Shah prompted the mutual funds she managed to buy more than 700,000 shares of Yahoo stock that were later sold for profits of approximately $389,000.
The SEC further alleges that a year earlier, the roles were reversed. Shah tipped Kwok with material nonpublic information about an impending acquisition announcement between two other companies. Kwok traded in a personal account based on the confidential information for profits of $4,754.
Kwok and Shah, who each live in California, have agreed to settle the SEC’s charges. Financial penalties and disgorgement will be determined by the court at a later date. Under the settlements, Shah will be permanently barred from the securities industry and Kwok will be permanently barred from serving as an officer or director of a public company.
“Kwok and Shah played a game of you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours,” said Scott W. Friestad, Associate Director in the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. “When corporate executives and mutual fund professionals misuse their access to confidential information, they undermine the integrity of our markets and violate the trust placed in them by investors.”
According to the SEC’s complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Shah and Kwok first met in January 2008 when Shah was attending a real estate conference in California at the same facility where Yahoo was holding a meeting. The two met in a hallway and began discussing their respective businesses, and thereafter they spoke frequently by phone or in person.
Kwok provided Shah with information about Yahoo, including whether Yahoo’s quarterly financial performance
was expected to be in line with market estimates. In return, Shah provided Kwok with information she learned in the course of her work, and he used it to help make his personal investment decisions. Both Shah and Kwok benefited from this exchange of information. Click here to read or download the SEC lawsuit.
Newscast Media WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged UBS Financial Services Inc. of Puerto Rico and two executives with making misleading statements to investors and concealing material information regarding securities. However, this approach is very unique that the SEC is taking. It bypasses the courts by the use Administrative Procedure Act, and directly charges the banks and executives involved with securities fraud, and even imposes a fine.
This is very powerful because the majority of judges in federal courts do not understand securities; attorneys also do not know how to defend such cases because they do not learn about securities laws in law school, so rather than risk losing a case based on a technicality or a judge’s unwillingness to address fraud committed by banks, the SEC is charging them directly and writing orders very much like a judge would do. This out-of-court approach will help investors and beneficiaries of fraudulently-created trusts resolve cases in which mortgage-backed securities are involved.
Just like a judge can issue an injunction, the SEC’s version is to issue a cease and desist from violating the Securities Act of 1933. Which means if a bank defrauds investors in regard to the existence of Trusts that don’t exist, and they bring it to the awareness of the SEC rather than the courts, they can receive relief for the fraud. Homeowners whose mortgages were put in defunct trusts secured by their deeds of trusts, benefit from such an order because it prohibits the banks and their agents from ever receiving any financial gain relating to such trusts. This way, homeowners are quietly winning injunctions against the big banks, without having to deal with the courts or when ruled against by the courts.
In this particular case of UBS in PR, the SEC used the Administrative Procedure to resolve the case. Here is exactly what the SEC said in its order:
In view of the foregoing, the Commission deems it appropriate and in the public interest to impose the sanctions agreed to in UBS PR’s Offer.
Accordingly, pursuant to Section 8A of the Securities Act, and Sections 15(b) and 21C of the Exchange Act, it is hereby ORDERED that:
A. UBS PR cease and desist from committing or causing any violations and any future violations of Sections 17(a) of the Securities Act, Sections 10(b) and 15(c) of the Exchange Act, and Rule 10b-5 of the Exchange Act.
B. UBS PR shall, within 14 days of the entry of this Order, pay disgorgement of $11,500,000.00, prejudgment interest of $1,109,739.94, and a civil money penalty of $14,000,000.00 to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
When a bank violates Section 17 of the Securities Act of 1933, it means there was fraud involved in the sale or acquring of securities. As I have said before in previous articles, almost 100 percent of the Trusts banks claim to be Trustees over do not exist, so the mortgage-backed securities are not mortgage backed. Banks like Deutsche Bank, Option One, Wells Fargo and many others that claim to hold mortgages for Trust XYZ on behalf of Certificate holders would be in violation of Section 17(a)(2) if the Trusts in which those alleged mortgage-backed securities they claim to own do not exist.
Violation of Section 17(a)(1) and 17(a)(2) of the Securities Act of 1933
Section 17 – Anti-Fraud Authority
Section 17(a) provides one of the central sources of anti-fraud authority for law enforcement. In most securities actions you will see Section 17(a) used as a basis for jurisdiction (along with Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder).
“It shall be unlawful for any person in the offer or sale of any securities or any security-based swap agreement (as defined in section 206B of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act [15 USCS § 78c note]) by the use of any means or instruments of transportation or communication in interstate commerce or by use of the mails, directly or indirectly (1) to employ any device, scheme, or artifice to defraud, or (2) to obtain money or property by means of any untrue statement of a material fact or any omission to state a material fact necessary in order to make the statements made, in light of the circumstances under which they were made, not misleading.”
So when the SEC issues a cease and desist to a bank from committing or causing any violations and any future violations of Sections 17 of the Securities Act of 1933, it is an equivalent of a permanent injunction to enjoin(stop) the bank from claiming any property rights to the related trust as highlighted in Section 17(a)(2) above.
Unfortunately not too many homeowners or even their attorneys are familiar with SEC rules, to be able to benefit from the rulings that are happening in regard to fraud. Only the savvy homeowners are the ones benefiting from such rulings, and when a “clear title” is filed, the bank, in accordance to the SEC order, cannot attempt to claim ownership over a property tainted with fraud, or else it will be in violation of the SEC order. This is something the media is forbidden to report, because the large corporations own the corporate media, and do not want an awakening to occur. You may read or download the UBS cease and desist order here.
Categories: News Tags: collateralized debt obligations, credit default swaps, derivatives, foreclosure fraud, fraudclosure, mortgage backed securities, securities fraud, Troubled Asset Relief Program, UBS Puerto Rico
Newscast Media WASHINGTON D.C. — The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that a federal judge has ordered the former CEO of Brookstreet Securities Corp. to pay a maximum $10 million penalty in a securities fraud case related to the financial crisis.
The SEC litigated the case beginning in December 2009, when the agency charged Stanley C. Brooks and Brookstreet with fraud for systematically selling risky mortgage-backed securities to customers with conservative investment goals. Brookstreet and Brooks developed a program through which the firm’s registered representatives sold particularly risky and illiquid types of Collateralized Mortgage Obligations (CMOs) to more than 1,000 seniors, retirees, and others for whom the securities were unsuitable.
Brookstreet and Brooks continued to promote and sell the risky CMOs even after Brooks received numerous warnings that these were dangerous investments that could become worthless overnight. The fraud caused
severe investor losses and eventually caused the firm to collapse.
The Honorable David O. Carter in federal court in Los Angeles granted summary judgment in favor of the SEC on February 23, finding Brookstreet and Brooks liable for violating Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 as well as Rule 10b-5. The court entered a final judgment in the case yesterday and ordered the financial penalty sought by the SEC.
Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act states:
Section 10 — Manipulative and Deceptive Devices: It shall be unlawful for any person, directly or indirectly, by the use of any means or instrumentality of interstate commerce or of the mails, or of any facility of any national securities exchange–
a. (1) To effect a short sale, or to use or employ any stop-loss order in connection with the purchase or sale, of any security registered on a national securities exchange, in contravention of such rules and regulations as the Commission may prescribe as necessary or appropriate in the public interest or
for the protection of investors.
(2) Paragraph (1) of this subsection shall not apply to security futures products.
b. To use or employ, in connection with the purchase or sale of any security registered on a national securities exchange or any security not so registered, or any securities-based swap agreement (as defined in section 206B of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act), any manipulative or deceptive device or contrivance in contravention of such rules and regulations as the Commission may prescribe as necessary or appropriate in the public interest or for the protection of investors.
Rules promulgated under subsection (b) prohibit fraud, manipulation, or insider trading.
“Brooks’ aggressive promotion and sale of risky mortgage products to seniors and other risk-averse investors deserves the maximum penalty possible, and that is what he got,” said Robert Khuzami, Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement.
“Those who direct such exploitative practices from the boardroom will be held personally accountable and face severe consequences for their egregious actions.”
Rosalind Tyson, Director of the SEC’s Los Angeles Regional Office, added, “The CMOs that Brookstreet sold its customers were among the most risky of all mortgage-backed securities. This judgment highlights the responsibility of brokerage firm principals to ensure the suitability of the securities they sell to customers.”
The SEC has brought enforcement actions stemming from the financial crisis against 95 entities and individuals, including 49 CEOs, CFOs, and other senior officers.
Newscast Media WASHINGTON D.C. — The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged six former top executives of the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) with securities fraud, alleging they knew and approved of misleading statements claiming the companies had minimal holdings of higher-risk mortgage loans, including subprime loans.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac each entered into a Non-Prosecution Agreement with the Commission in which each company agreed to accept responsibility for its conduct and not dispute, contest, or contradict the contents of an agreed-upon Statement of Facts without admitting nor denying liability. Each also agreed to cooperate with the Commission’s litigation against the former executives. In entering into these Agreements, the Commission considered the unique circumstances presented by the companies’ current status, including the financial support provided to the companies by the U.S. Treasury, the role of the Federal Housing Finance Agency as conservator of each company, and the costs that may be imposed on U.S. taxpayers.
Three former Fannie Mae executives — former Chief Executive Officer Daniel H. Mudd, former Chief Risk Officer Enrico Dallavecchia, and former Executive Vice President of Fannie Mae’s Single Family Mortgage business, Thomas A. Lund — were named in the SEC’s complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
The SEC also charged three former Freddie Mac executives — former Chairman of the Board and CEO Richard F. Syron, former Executive Vice President and Chief Business Officer Patricia L. Cook, and former Executive Vice President for the Single Family Guarantee business Donald J. Bisenius — in a separate complaint filed in the same court.
“Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac executives told the world that their subprime exposure was substantially smaller than it really was,” said Robert Khuzami, Director of the SEC’s Enforcement Division. “These material misstatements occurred during a time of acute investor interest in financial institutions’ exposure to subprime loans, and misled the market about the amount of risk on the company’s books. All individuals, regardless of their rank or position, will be held accountable for perpetuating half-truths or misrepresentations about matters materially important to the interest of our country’s investors.”
The SEC’s investigation of Fannie Mae was conducted by Senior Attorneys Natasha S. Guinan, Christina M. Marshall, Liban Jama, Mona L. Benach, and Associate Chief Accountant, Peter Rosario, under the supervision of Assistant Director Charles E. Cain, and Associate Director Stephen L. Cohen. Sarah Levine and James Kidney will lead the SEC’s litigation efforts.
The SEC’s investigation of Freddie Mac was conducted by Senior Attorneys Giles T. Cohen and David S. Karp and Assistant Chief Accountant Avron Elbaum of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement under the supervision of Assistant Director Charles E. Cain and Associate Director Stephen L. Cohen. Kevin O’Rourke and Suzanne Romajas will lead the SEC’s litigation efforts.
For more information about these enforcement actions, contact:
Robert S. Khuzami, Director
Lorin L. Reisner, Deputy Director
Stephen L. Cohen, Associate Director
Charles E. Cain, Assistant Director