• Award Image

One of the Most Experienced

Investment Fraud, Securities Defense, and FINRA Arbitration Attorneys Nationwide

Attorney Pearce has over decades of first-hand experience with investment disputes in Florida, nationwide, and internationally. We are one of the most experienced FINRA Securities Arbitration Law Firms nationwide and have recovered more than $160 Million on behalf of our clients.

With over 40 Years of Personal Experience

$21,000,000 Final Judgment for Civil Theft
$8,500,000 Stockbroker Bond Fraud Settlement
$8,200,000 Stockbroker Margin Account Liquidation Settlement
$7,800,000 Stockbroker Option Fraud Settlement
$6,000,000 Stockbroker Bond & Bond Fund Fraud Settlement
$5,800,000 Arbitration Award for Stockbroker Fraud
$5,500,000 FINRA Arbitration Settlement
$4,300,000 Federal Court Class Action Settlement
$3,500,000 Florida State Court Settlement
$3,350,000 FINRA Arbitration Settlement
$3,200,000 FINRA Arbitration Award
$2,750,000 FINRA Arbitration Award

The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce P.A., represents clients on all sides of securities, commodities and investment fraud and other issues in a broad range of practice areas in courtroom litigation, arbitration, SEC defense, and mediation proceedings. Based out of offices in Boca Raton, Florida, stockbroker fraud attorney Robert Wayne Pearce and his team have handled hundreds of FINRA, AAA and JAMs securities arbitration and mediation cases for satisfied clients located not only in Florida but nationwide and throughout the world.

OVER $160 MILLION RECOVERED FOR CLIENTS Contact Our Lawyers for Nationwide Help

We help Investors, Advisors, StockBrokers, and provide Regulatory Defense

Choose your representation needs:

Meet Our Team

Some attorneys just work to live: we work -- for justice!

The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce has represented investors across the globe and throughout the United States. Our attorneys have recovered over $160 million for his investor clients in all types of stockbroker fraud and stockbroker misconduct cases.

Attorney Headshot

Tamara Hanseder

Florida Registered Paralegal Working with our firm since 2011
Attorney Headshot

Monica Duncan

Legal Assistant Working with our firm since 1996
Attorney Headshot

Diana Cooper

Bookkeeper Mr. Pearce's Bookkeeper since 1996

Hear From Our Clients

At The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A., we believe the ultimate barometer of our success is surpassing the expectation of our clients.

The following clients have direct knowledge of our firm's processes from the inside and experienced our fierce advocacy.

Hear From Our Clients

  • “Robert Pearce is part of that unusual breed of lawyers that are able to create empathy with clients and thoroughly adopt their cause”

    No half efforts here. He and his group of professionals are outstanding strategists that can execute with precise fervor and unyielding determination. Theirs is a huge wave of facts, research, precedents and preparation, that has impressed me in its thoroughness and creativity, and most importantly with the results. No stone goes unturned and no effort is ever spared. In my book, he and they are those of a very rare kind that one wants to keep for a very long time.

    - Ramon Flores-Esteves -
  • “Just like the song from HAMILTON, it's so nice to have Bob Pearce on your side.”

    Just like the song from HAMILTON, it's so nice to have Bob Pearce on your side. He is the consumate plaintiff's lawyer: smart. dedicated, fully able to try a case but a great negotiator in a mediation. He did a wonderful job for us, fully supporting us through the process and more than holding his own against a large national law firm.

    - Maurice Z. -
  • "Mr. Pearce and his staff exceeded all of our expectations."

    Mr. Pearce and his staff exceeded all of our expectations. We were able to reach a settlement that was of our complete satisfaction, all within a very smooth, professional and efficient process. Mr. Pearce is now not only our lawyer but our family friend. We highly recommend him and his team!

    - Severiano L. -
  • "For the best fighting chance, Robert Pearce is the lawyer you want in your corner."

    This law firm is the real deal. We were so lucky that they took our case as they have so much experience in securities and all the wrongdoing that happens in these investment companies where they mislead you and your money (as in our case) into schemes that are not what you think they are. Mr. Robert Pearce is one of the best lawyers around, a truly professional who will fight for you and will tell you as it is all the time. We could not have gone thru this experience if it was not for all the advice, guidance and support he and all of his staff and associates brought to the game. For the best fighting chance, Robert Pearce is the lawyer you want in your corner.

    - Astrid M. -
  • "He never felt intimidated and his study of the case and perseverance prevailed at all times."

    Attorney Robert Pearce was our lawyer in a case against a Brokerage Firm and I'm witness to his ability and intelligence to deal with lawyers from the most prominent law firm in New York which was the key to recovering much of our losses cheered by their negligence. He never felt intimidated and his study of the case and perseverance prevailed at all times.

    - Jose A. C. -
  • "In the end, Bob and I had the last laugh when the arbitrators awarded me almost 6 million dollars."

    No lawyer except Bob said I had a chance of winning. When UBS Lawyers laughingly offered me zero to settle the dispute, Bob became even more determined to prove everybody wrong. Bob was extremely prepared, and always a step ahead of the opposing attorneys throughout the arbitration. In the end, Bob and I had the last laugh when the arbitrators awarded me almost 6 million dollars.

    - J. Blanco -
  • "Every meeting and phone call was made with dedication and desire to help our family every step of the way."

    Robert's team is excellent. They are very competitive in what they do and they are very responsible. Every meeting and phone call was made with dedication and desire to help our family every step of the way. Their professionalism, responsibility and empathy assured us that we were in good hands. Recommend to everyone.

    - Mayra A. -

Cases & Investigations

J.P. Morgan Sued For Edward Turley’s Alleged Misconduct: $55 Million!

The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce has filed another case against J.P. Morgan Securities for alleged misrepresentations, misleading statements, unsuitable recommendations, and mismanagement of Claimants’ accounts continuing in fall 2019 and thereafter by Edward Turley (“Turley”), a former “Vice-Chairman” of J.P. Morgan. At the outset, it is important for our readers to know that our clients’ allegations have not yet been proven. IMPORTANT: We are providing information about our clients’ allegations and seeking information from other investors who did business with J.P. Morgan and Mr. Turley and had similar investments, a similar investment strategy, and a similar bad experience to help us win our clients’ case. Please contact us online via our contact form or by giving us a ring at (800) 732-2889. Turley Allegedly Misrepresented And Misled Claimants About His Investment Strategy The claims arise out of Turley’s “one-size-fits-all” fixed income credit spread investment strategy involving high-yield “junk” bonds, preferred stocks, exchange traded funds (“ETFs”), master limited partnerships (“MLPs”), and foreign bonds. Instead of purchasing those securities in ordinary margin accounts, Turley executed foreign currency transactions to raise capital and leverage clients’ accounts to earn undisclosed commissions. Turley over-leveraged and over-concentrated his best and biggest clients’ accounts, including Claimants’ accounts, in junk bonds, preferred stocks, and MLPs in the financial and energy sectors, which are notoriously illiquid and subject to sharp price declines when the financial markets become stressed as they did in March 2020. In the beginning and throughout the investment advisory relationship, Turley described his investment strategy to Claimants as one which would generate “equity returns with very low bond-type risk.” Turley and his partners also described the strategy to clients and prospects as one “which provided equity-like returns without equity-like risk.” J.P. Morgan supervisors even documented Turley’s description of the strategy as “creating portfolio with similar returns, but less volatility than an all-equity portfolio.” Note: It appears that no J.P. Morgan supervisor ever checked to see if the representations were true and if anybody did, they would have known Turley was lying and have directly participated in the scheme. The Claimants’ representative was also told Turley used leverage derived from selling foreign currencies, Yen and Euros, to get the “equity-like” returns he promised. Turley also told the investor not to be concerned because he “carefully” added leverage to enhance returns. According to Turley, the securities of the companies he invested in for clients “did not move up or down like the stock market,” so there was no need to worry about him using leverage in Claimants’ accounts and their cash would be available whenever it was needed. The Claimants’ representative was not the only client who heard this from Turley; that is, he did not own volatile stocks and not to worry about leverage. Turley did not discuss the amount of leverage he used in clients’ accounts, which ranged from 1:1 to 3:1, nor did Turley discuss the risks currency transactions added to the portfolio, margin calls or forced liquidations as a result of his investment strategy. After all, Turley knew he could get away without disclosing those risks. This was because J.P. Morgan suppressed any margin calls being sent to Turley’s clients and he liquidated securities on his own to meet those margin calls without alarming clients.  This “one-size-fits-all” strategy was a recipe for disaster. J.P. Morgan and Turley have both admitted that Turley’s investment strategy was not suitable for any investor whose liquid net worth was fully invested in the strategy. It was especially unsuitable for those customers like Claimants who had other plans for the funds in their J.P. Morgan accounts in fall 2019 and spring 2020. Unfortunately, Turley recommended and managed the “one-size-fits-all” strategy for his best clients and friends, including Claimants. Turley was Claimants’ investment advisor and portfolio manager and required under the law to serve them as a “fiduciary.” He breached his “fiduciary” duties in making misrepresentations, misleading statements, unsuitable recommendations, and mismanagement of Claimants’ accounts. The most egregious breach was his failure to take any action to protect his clients at the end of February 2020, when J.P. Morgan raised the red flags about COVID-19 and recommended defensive action be taken in clients’ accounts. Turley Allegedly Managed Claimants’ Accounts Without Written Discretionary Authority Claimants’ representative hired Turley to manage his “dry powder,” the cash in Claimants’ accounts at J.P. Morgan, which he would need on short notice when business opportunities arose. At one point, Claimants had over $100 million on deposit with J.P. Morgan. It was not unusual for Claimants to deposit millions and make multi-million-dollar withdrawals of funds for different acquisitions and projects. Turley would then select the securities to buy with the cash deposited that suited his “one-size-fits-all” strategy. He would also decide whether to sell securities and/or increase the leverage in the accounts to meet Claimants need for cash from the accounts. Turley regularly made multi-million-dollar purchases and sales in Claimants’ accounts without a word being spoken with his clients.  Although Turley called and texted often, the communications with his clients were almost always about anything other than getting permission to buy or sell any securities in Claimants’ accounts. Turley’s reports about account activity were generally limited to the “Big Number;” that is, reporting the net equity in the accounts and whether it had gone up or down. Turley rarely consulted with Claimants’ representative about any transaction in Claimants’ accounts before they occurred.  Turley exercised his discretion even though Claimants never executed any documents giving him written discretionary authority over Claimants’ accounts. There was not enough time in the day to speak with every client and do the volume of transactions on an individual basis, so Turley exercised discretion and entered large block orders in the same securities for many of his clients at the same time to generate millions in commissions and fees each year. Note: Claimants did not think this was unusual because they hired Turley to manage their accounts, just as they hired others to manage other businesses. However, Turley knew better...

Keep Reading

Can I Sue My Financial Advisor For Structured Note Investment Losses?

Structured notes are investments that combine securities from several asset classes to create a single investment with a particular risk and return profile over a time period. Unfortunately, investment loss is not unheard of with structured notes. This article will try to explain how a structured note works and what you can do if you have lost money due to an advisor’s bad purchase decisions for you. Can I Sue My Financial Advisor For Structured Note Investment Losses? Yes, you can sue your financial advisor for structured note investment losses for one or more of the following reasons: The nature, mechanics, or risks of the structured note were misrepresented. The financial advisor failed to provide you with a prospectus, offering memorandum, or otherwise disclose all of the material risks of the structured product investment. The recommendation that you invest in a particular structured note was unsuitable. Your account was over-concentrated in structured notes which may otherwise have been suitable for a small percentage (10% or less) of your portfolio. What Are Structured Notes? Structured notes are investments which often combine securities of different asset classes as one investment for a desired risk and return over a period of time. They are complex investments that are often misunderstood by not only investors but the financial advisors who recommend them.  Structured notes are manufactured by financial institutions in all sizes and shapes. Generally, a structured note is an unsecured obligation of an issuer with a return, generally paid at maturity, that is linked to the performance of an underlying asset, such as a securities market index, exchange traded fund, and/or individual stocks. The return on the structured note will depend on the performance of the underlying asset and the specific features of the investment being made. The different features and risks of structured notes can affect the terms and issuance, returns at maturity, and the value of the structured product before maturity. They may have limited or no liquidity before maturity. Before investing, you better make sure you understand the terms and conditions and risks associated with the structured note being offered. Structured notes are often represented as investments being guaranteed by large financial institutions. Indeed, the top issuers of structured notes in 2021, Goldman Sachs (12.75%), Morgan Stanley (12.70%), Citigroup (12.46%), J.P. Morgan (11.92%), UBS (80.47%), Credit Suisse (4.99%), RBC (4.45%), Bank of America (3.90%), Scotiabank (3.89%), are some of the largest financial institutions in the world. It’s important to understand that although the benefits of owning structured products may be guaranteed to be paid by one of those large financial institutions, the amount of interest or principal being guaranteed is dependent upon the features of the product being sold; that is, the specific terms and conditions of the investment contract being purchased. In this low-interest rate environment the most popular structured notes being offered are structured notes with principal protection and income features. Some of the structured notes offer full principal protection, but others offer partial or no protection of principal at all. Some structured notes offer higher rates of interest that may be paid monthly and then suddenly stop paying any interest at all because payment was contingent upon certain events not happening. It all depends on the terms and conditions of the investment contract being purchased, which is why you must read the term sheet or better yet the prospectus to understand the nature, mechanics and risks of the structured note being sold. You need to understand that there are many key terms beyond the words “guarantor” and “guaranteed” which are used often to describe structured notes. You need to ask about and be sure to understand the following features of the structured notes being offered: the nature of the “reference asset” (a/k/a the “underlyings”) the reference index(es), ETF(s), or stock(s) underlying the structured note. whether the “reference asset” gets put to you at maturity (delivered) or you get paid in cash and forced to realize a loss. the “barrier levels” which can dictate the payment of interest and/or return of capital to the investor in the structured notes. whether the notes “auto-callable” which might force you to realize permanent loss that might not otherwise have occurred if you were allowed to hold the securities through market fluctuation. the “redemption dates,” or “observation dates, ” which may impact the amount of payment of principal or interest you ultimately receive. whether the interest payments subject to a “contingent coupon” and, if so, be sure you know the contingency parameter and the level where your interest payments may stop. How the “closing value” and/or “final value” of the “reference asset (as)” are calculated on the “redemption date(s)” or “observation date(s).” Are Structured Notes Suitable Investments? Let me answer that question this way, a particular structured note may be suitable for somebody but not everybody. With regard to the more common structured notes being offered by the major financial institutions these days, they are not suitable for individuals seeking an investment that: produces fixed periodic interest payments, or other non-contingent sources of income and/or you cannot tolerate receiving few or no interest payments over the term of the notes in the event the closing value of the underlings or reference stock falls below a barrier level on one or more of the observation dates. participates in the full appreciation of the reference stock rather than an investment with a return that is limited to the contingent interest payments, if any, paid on the notes. provides for the full repayment of principal at maturity, and/or you are unwilling or unable to accept the risk that you may lose some or all of the principal amount of the notes in the event the final value of the reference asset falls below the barrier value. They are not suitable investments if you are someone who: anticipates that the closing value of the reference asset will decline during the term of the notes such that the closing value of the reference asset will fall below...

Keep Reading

Investment & Securities Lawyers

We are a Nationally Recognized Securities Law Firm

With a Successful Track Record for Recovery of Investment Losses

Attorney Pearce is a well-respected advocate for investors throughout the legal community, known as a fierce litigator and tireless not only in Boca Raton but throughout Florida and across the nation. Read his Investors Rights Blog and discover the breadth of his knowledge that can only be gained from over 40 years of legal experience for yourself. As one of the most experienced FINRA arbitration lawyers, Mr. Pearce knows all of the available options for your case and will pursue them vigorously to secure the best possible outcome for you and your stockbroker fraud and stockbroker misconduct case. He has earned a peer rating of AV Preeminent * through the Martindale-Hubbell peer review rating process, the highest available rating through that program.

Mr. Pearce is one of Thomson Reuters Florida Super Lawyers ** for Securities Litigation (Top 5). Read the feature article about him in the Florida 2014 Super Lawyers magazine entitled: “No Excuses – How Robert Wayne Pearce Stared Down Personal Disaster”.

During his more than 40 years of experience practicing securities and commodities law, he has won numerous million-dollar awards and settlements for his clients which has earned him recognition for his success by The Million Dollar Advocates Forum and The Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum as one of the Top Trial Lawyers in America TM***.

By hiring Robert Wayne Pearce, an attorney with over 40 years of experience practicing in the area of securities, commodities and investment fraud on both sides of the table in arbitrations and courtroom litigation, you will clearly see his legal experience and knowledge in action. Having a fierce litigator and tireless advocate of your rights, an attorney who will quickly identify both the strengths and the weaknesses of your case will surely increase the likelihood of winning your case.

Legal Blog

What is the Statute of Limitations for Securities Fraud?

The investment and securities industry is heavily regulated to protect investors from fraud and other unscrupulous practices. Unfortunately, there are still many instances of securities fraud that occur each year. When securities fraud is discovered, legal action can be taken against the perpetrators. However, there is a time limit for taking action, known as the statute of limitations. What is the Statute of Limitations for Securities Fraud? The statute of limitations is the time period during which legal action can be taken and they vary state to state. For example, the statute of limitations for securities fraud in Florida is subject to two separate timelines: a two (2) year statute of limitations and a five (5) year statute of repose. Both of these timelines begin running on different dates, and it is important to understand the difference between them. For the two-year statute of limitations, the clock starts ticking when the plaintiff becomes aware of the “facts constituting the violation.” The five-year repose period begins from the defendant’s last culpable act, regardless of whether the plaintiff is aware of it or not. The pairing of these two timelines ensures that there is always a chance to take legal action against securities fraud, even if the victim was not aware of the fraud at the time it occurred. However, it is important to note that the sooner action is taken, the better. IMPORTANT: Securities fraud is a complex area of law, and the statute of limitations can be complicated to determine. Due to this, if you believe you are a victim of securities fraud, you should consult with an experienced securities fraud attorney to discuss your legal options and whether the statute of limitations may apply to your case. How does the law define when a securities fraud has been “discovered” or should have been discovered? Due to the complexity of the securities and investment market, it can be difficult to determine when a securities fraud has been “discovered” or should have been discovered. In part, this is why there is a range of two to five years after the date of the fraud within which legal action can be taken. As a good rule of thumb, the time starts ticking on the statute of limitations when the investor becomes aware of (or discovers) the facts or should have been aware of the facts that would cause a reasonable person to believe that securities fraud has occurred. This means two things: one, if the investor believes that he or she has been defrauded, the investor should act quickly and consult with an investment fraud attorney to discuss his or her legal options; and two, if the investor is unsure whether securities fraud has occurred, the investor should err on the side of caution and seek legal counsel to avoid losing the right to take action. IMPORTANT: Unfortunately, ignorance to a securities fraud often will not excuse the running of the statute of limitations. If you have suffered investment losses due to another’s actions, you may have a securities fraud claim, even if you were unaware of the fraud at the time it occurred. How is Securities Fraud handled in Court? The securities fraud cases for investors are typically handled in civil court and arbitrations, rather than criminal court.  A vast majority of securities fraud are brought under Rule 10b-5 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, which prohibits “any manipulative, deceptive, or fraudulent practices” in the securities industry. In addition, securities fraud cases can be tried through the FINRA arbitration process. More and more disputes are being handled through FINRA arbitration, as it is generally faster and less expensive than going to court. How to Report Securities Fraud If you believe that you have been the victim of securities fraud, there are a few things you can do: File a complaint with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). File a complaint with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC). Contact an experienced securities fraud attorney. In securities fraud claims, timely filing of a claim is critical. As a result, if you believe you have been the victim of securities fraud, it is essential to act quickly. Filing a complaint with FINRA or the SEC generally will not help you get compensated for your losses. However, it is an important step in the dispute resolution process as any investigation by the regulators might put pressure on the defendants to resolve your claim and get compensation for your losses. An experienced securities fraud attorney can help you navigate the process of filing a claim and recovering your losses. Consider Speaking with a Securities Fraud Attorney If you believe that you have been the victim of securities fraud, you do have legal options available to you. Finding yourself a victim to securities fraud can be a confusing and frustrating experience. We can help. At The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A., we have successfully represented many investors who have been victims of securities fraud. To schedule your free confidential consultation, please call us at 561-338-0037 or fill out one of our short contact forms.

Learn More

Can You Sue a Brokerage Firm for Investment Losses?

If you have experienced significant investment losses, you may be wondering if you can sue your brokerage firm. Can You Sue a Brokerage Firm? Yes, you can sue a brokerage firm to help recover any investment losses that you have suffered due to a broker’s negligence or fraud. Lawsuits are typically filed against brokerage firms rather than individual brokers because the firm is vicariously (automatically) liable for the actions of all their employees. In addition, brokerage firms are directly responsible for supervising its employees and ensuring that they are adhering to industry regulations and can be held liable for their supervisory failures. FINRA rules require a brokerage firm to establish policies and procedures that monitor brokers’ activities in order to avoid investor losses and investment fraud. As such, if the brokerage firm has failed to supervise its employees properly and this has led to your investment losses, you may have a claim against the firm. IMPORTANT: Filing a successful lawsuit against a brokerage firm is a complex undertaking. You will need to prove that the firm did not properly supervise its employees and that this failure led to your investment losses. If you decide to pursue legal action, it is important to consult with an experienced securities lawyer who can help you navigate the process and build a strong case against the firm. When Can a Brokerage Firm be Held Liable for Investment Losses? Despite having issues with an individual broker, many investors are surprised to learn that lawsuits against an individual are actually quite rare. The vast majority of lawsuits that are filed in connection with investment losses are brought against the brokerage firm that employed the broker. A brokerage firm is required to properly supervise its employees and to ensure that they are adhering to FINRA rules and regulations. If the firm fails to do so and this results in investors suffering losses, the firm can be held liable. It’s unfortunately common for independent brokerage firms to hire under-qualified brokers with little to no experience in the industry. These brokers are often given very little training and are left to their own devices when it comes to handling clients’ investments. As a result, these inexperienced brokers can make serious mistakes that cost investors a lot of money. Due to the fact that brokerage firms are required to properly supervise their employees, the liability for investment losses often falls on the brokerage firm that hired the broker rather than the individual broker him or herself. In addition, under Section 20(a) of the Securities and Exchange Act, a brokerage firm can be held liable for the negligence of its individual brokers and advisors. In essence, the law tends to hold the brokerage firm liable for the misconduct of its employees unless the brokerage firm acted in good faith and did not indirectly cause the misconduct which has resulted in the investors’ losses. Note: The process of establishing liability against a brokerage firm is complex and it can be difficult to prove that the firm is responsible for your investment losses. It is in the best interest of the brokerage firm to avoid liability, so they will likely have a team of lawyers working to protect them. As such, if you decide to pursue legal action against a brokerage firm, it is important to consult with an experienced securities lawyer who can help you navigate the process and build a strong case against the firm. The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce P.A. has over 40 years of experience representing those who have been wronged by a fiduciary and have recovered over $160 million in investment losses for our clients. If you believe that you have been the victim of broker or brokerage firm misconduct, we can help. Contact us today for a free consultation. When Does the Liability Fall on the Individual Broker? There are many circumstances where the liability for investment losses may fall on the individual broker. For example, if a broker makes material misstatements or omissions about an investment, the broker can be held liable for any losses that result from those misrepresentations. Additionally, if a broker engages in fraudulent or illegal activity, the broker can be held liable for any losses that occur. All brokers and financial advisors are required to adhere to a strict code of ethics and owe their clients a fiduciary duty. A fiduciary duty is a legal obligation to act in the best interest of the client. If a broker breaches this duty and causes the client to lose money, the broker can be held liable. There are a wide variety of circumstances where a broker may breach their fiduciary duty to a client. For a more complete discussion on when the liability for investment losses falls on the individual broker, please see our article on “How to Sue a Financial Advisor or Stockbroker Over Investment Losses.” Have You Suffered Investment Losses? Take Legal Action Today. If you have suffered investment losses, you may be able to take legal action against the brokerage firm or individual broker responsible for your losses. The first step is to consult with an experienced securities lawyer to discuss your case and determine what legal options are available to you. The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce P.A. has over 40 years of experience representing those who have been wronged by a fiduciary and have recovered over $160 million in investment losses for our clients. If you believe that you have been the victim of broker or brokerage firm misconduct, we can help. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Learn More

What is Securities Fraud?

If you’ve been the victim of securities fraud, you may be able to take legal action. What is securities fraud? Securities fraud, often referred to as either investment fraud or stock fraud, is a type of deceptive and illegal practice of targeting investors to make investment purchases or sales decisions based on false or misleading information, frequently resulting in substantial investment losses. Almost anyone can be a victim of securities fraud. While the elderly and inexperienced investors are frequent targets, even savvy investors can fall prey to securities fraud if they’re not careful. Perpetrators of securities fraud will often make false or misleading statements in order to persuade investors to buy or sell securities, usually at the benefit of the perpetrator. Important Takeaways Securities Fraud is an illegal and deceptive practice targeting investors to make investment decisions based on false or misleading information. There are many different perpetrators of securities fraud, and almost anyone can be a victim. Commons forms of securities fraud include but are not limited to: High Yield Investment Frauds, Ponzi & Pyramid Schemes, Advance Fee Schemes, Misconduct by an Investment Advisor, and Structured Notes. There are legal actions you can take if you have been the victim of securities fraud, especially if you’ve suffered substantial investment losses as a result. Note: If you believe you have been a victim of securities fraud, it is important to take action. Securities fraud is an illegal or unethical activity punishable by law. You may be able to recover your losses by filing a lawsuit against the person or entity who committed the fraud, as well as protect yourself and other investors from future harm. You should consider talking with a securities fraud lawyer to learn more about your legal options. The Different Perpetrators of Securities Fraud There are many different perpetrators of securities fraud, and they all have different motivations. Some may be driven by greed, while others may simply be trying to take advantage of investors. Regardless of their motivations, all perpetrators of securities fraud share one goal: to make money by deception. Securities fraud can be committed by a single person, such as a stockbroker or a financial advisor. It might also be perpetrated by an organization, such as a brokerage firm, corporation, or investment bank. In these scenarios, the target is usually an unsophisticated investor who is unaware of the fraud being committed. Independent individuals may also commit securities fraud, such as insider trading or market manipulation. In these cases, the individual investor is usually the perpetrator rather than the victim. Due to the actions of the independent individual, the entire market may be impacted, and other investors may suffer losses as a result. Unfortunately, the perpetrator of securities fraud may be unknown. This is often the case with internet fraud, where scammers set up fake websites or send out mass emails to trick investors into giving them money. Anyone can be a perpetrator of securities fraud, and anyone can be a victim. The best way to protect yourself is to be aware of the different types of securities fraud and to know what red flags to look for. What are Common Types of Securities Fraud? There are many different types of securities fraud, but some are more common than others. When a broker or investment firm takes your money with the promise of investing it and then uses it for other things, you’ve been a victim of securities fraud. Securities fraud schemes are often characterized by offers of guaranteed returns and low- to no-risk investments. The most typical forms of securities fraud, as defined by the FBI, are: High Yield Investment Frauds These types of securities fraud are often characterized by promises of high returns on investment with little to no risk. They may involve a few different forms of investments, such as securities, commodities, real estate, or other highly-valuable investments. You can identify these schemes due to their “Too good to be true” offers. These types of fraud tend to be unsolicited. Perpetrators may elicit investments from investors by internet postings, emails, social media, job boards, or even personal contact. They may also use mass marketing techniques to reach a large number of potential investors at once. Once the fraudster has received the investment money, they may simply disappear with it or use it to fund their own lifestyle. The investment itself may not even exist. Ponzi & Pyramid Schemes These types of securities fraud use the money collected from new investors to pay the high rates of return that were promised to earlier investors in the scheme. Payouts over time give the early impression that the scheme is a legitimate investment. However, eventually, there are not enough new investors to support the payouts, and the entire scheme collapses. When this happens, the people who invested at the beginning of the scheme often lose all of their money. In these schemes, the investors were the only source of funding. Advance Fee Schemes In these types of securities fraud, the investor is promised a large sum of money if they pay an upfront fee. The fees may be called “commissions”, “processing fees”, or something similar. The fraudulent organization will often require that the fee be paid in cash, wire transfer, or even cryptocurrency. They may also ask the investor to provide personal information such as bank account numbers or social security numbers. Once the fee is paid, the fraudulent organization will often disappear and the investor will never receive the promised money. Other Securities Fraud In addition to the above list provided by the FBI, at The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A., we have found that the following types of securities fraud are also common: Misconduct by an Investment Advisor By far the most common type of securities fraud that our firm sees is misconduct by an investment advisor or brokers. Investment advisors or brokers are supposed to act in their clients’ best interests (fiduciary duty), but some advisors put their own interests ahead of their clients. For example, an advisor might recommend that a client invests in a...

Learn More