If you are reading this article, you are probably an investor who has lost a substantial amount of money, Googled “FINRA Arbitration Lawyer,” clicked on a number of attorney websites, and maybe even spoken with a so-called “Securities Arbitration Lawyer” who told you after a five minute telephone call that “you have a great case;” “you need to sign a retainer agreement on a ‘contingency fee’ basis;” and “you need to act now because the statute of limitations is going to run.”Continue Reading
OUR STOCKBROKER FRAUD CASES & INVESTIGATIONS
For over 40 years, Attorney Pearce and his staff members at The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. have worked on and continue to work on a wide variety of securities, commodities and investment disputes for investors arising out of stock brokerage, commodity brokerage, insurance and other financial service company’s’ employees, representatives and agents’ misconduct. We represent investors with securities and commodities law issues and a broad range of other practice areas in courtroom litigation, arbitration and mediation proceedings from offices in Boca Raton, Florida across the United States.
Our Florida Attorneys Handle Stockbroker Fraud Cases & Investigations Nationwide
The most common investor claims have been claims for misrepresentation, failure to disclose important information, unsuitable recommendations, churning or excessive trading, and unauthorized trading in stocks, bonds, mutual funds and options in violation of federal and state statutes, common law and industry rules. However, in the past three years, most of our cases have arisen out of the latest wave of investment products, widespread misconduct with the same investment firms, branch offices and/or brokers. We are presently engaged in a number of cases and investigations involving not only the so-called “garden variety” stock, bond and option claims but many other types of misrepresented and mismanaged investment products and fraudulent schemes.
A brief description of some of our current stockbroker fraud Cases and Investigations with links to other pages within our website and Investors Rights Blog to help answer your questions and help you recover your losses is below:
If you are reading this article, we are guessing you invested in some of those high-dividend paying UBS ETRAC Exchange Traded Notes (ETNs) your stockbroker recommended to increase your retirement income. We would not be surprised if you were also told the UBS ETRAC investments had a proven track record of great returns. You probably also heard: No need to worry about these investments because they were backed by one of the largest brokerage firms in the world – UBS Financial Services, Inc. (UBS). We’re not shocked because that is just what many other investors have told us about the pitch made to them to invest in UBS ETRACs.Continue Reading
We represent investors nationwide that were sold certain structured products referred to as “steepeners” which are either notes or CDs that pay varying levels of interest depending on the steepness of flatness of the yield curve. When the yield curve flattened in 2018 and long term interest rates were equal to short term interest rates, these steepeners rapidly declined in value and either ceased paying interest or paid significantly lower interest. In 2019, the yield curve inverted and short term interest rates rose to a higher level than long term interest rates causing even more losses. The negative impact on investors that invested in the following types of structured products, including, but not limited to, the following has been dramatic: Structured CDs, Market-Linked CDs, Leverage Callable CMS Curve Linked Notes, Callable Quarterly CMS Spread-Linked Notes, Callable Variable Rate Range Accrual CDs, Callable Interest Rate Spread CDs, Senior Callable CMS Steepener Notes, and Callable CMS Spread Notes. Investors across the United States report being misled by their brokers or financial advisors when they were told that the “notes” or “CDs” were high quality fixed-income investments. In reality, the investments were complex structured products, often with short-term teaser interest rates, long-dated maturities, and obscure features that caused them to lose capital rapidly along with greatly diminished interest payments. Additionally, brokers represented to their clients that the steepeners they solicited and sold to them paid an attractive “yield.” Brokers cited the high credit rating of the issuer in order to induce clients to invest, and some touted the supposed safety and the so-called yield as the central selling points without fully and adequately disclosing the key features and risks attendant to the structured products they were recommending. Furthermore, many brokers employed a strategy of concentrating their customers in these structured products. We are investigating and claims against brokerage firms including Centaurus Financial, Inc., J.P. Turner & Company, LLC, Aegis Capital Corp., Wells Fargo Advisors, and other brokerage firms for structured products investment losses. Please call us if you purchased steepeners through Ricky Mantei (CRD# 1098981), Cindy Chiellini (CRD# 1015592), Katherine Nishnic (CRD# 2499553), Dana Matthew Hawkins (CRD# 5731136), Alan Applebaum (CRD# 500336) or Joseph Andreoli (CRD#1718688). We have been retained by many investors to file FINRA arbitration claims against brokerage firms to recover their losses. Our firm has been very successful in making recoveries for our clients throughout the United States for investment fraud and has recovered over $160 million for investors. Was it just the market or were you mislead to invest in unsuitable steepener investments? Call Attorney Pearce at 1-800-SEC-ATTY (732-2889) with any questions you may have about how you may recover your steepener investment losses.Continue Reading
We are investigating and representing investors against FINRA-registered brokerage firms and financial advisors who offered and sold securities issued by affiliates of EquiAlt, LLC (EquiAlt), a private real estate company which organized at least four private placements: EquiAlt Fund, LLC; EquiAlt Fund II,LLC; EquiAlt Fund III, LLC; and EA Sip, LLC (collectively referred to as the EquiAlt Funds). According to a recent SEC Complaint, Brian Davison (Davison) and Barry Rybicki (Rybicki) offered and sold $170 million of unregistered debentures issued by the EquiAlt Funds to over 1,100 investors nationwide. The SEC alleged that Davison, Rybicki, and others committed securities fraud by misrepresenting the debentures as “secure,” “safe,” “low risk,” and “conservative.” Further, while investors were promised “that substantially all of their money would be used to purchase real estate in distressed markets in the United States and their investments would yield generous returns … EquiAlt, Davison, and Rybicki misappropriated millions in investor funds for their own personal use and benefit.” According to the SEC, the revenues that were generated by the EquiAlt Funds became insufficient to pay the interest owed to investors. As a result, the SEC alleged “the Defendants resorted to [a Ponzi Scheme] fraud, using new investor money to pay the returns promised to existing investors.” While many of the sales were solicited by unregistered EquiAlt salespersons, it is reported there were many sales by small offices of registered salespersons associated with large independent FINRA-registered stockbrokerage and insurance firms primarily located in Florida, Arizona, California, and Nevada, and many other states nationwide. It is alleged that EquiAlt salespersons received “commissions of anywhere between 10%-14%,” which is extraordinarily high for the sale of any investment product. Thus, there was such a strong incentive to sell these debentures by any means. It is likely that many of the FINRA registered brokerage firms did not authorize sales of the EquiAlt Fund debentures and that no due diligence or any other investigation of the company or its investment offerings were ever conducted. Consequently, it is very likely that the EquiAlt Funds were sold via misrepresentations and misleading statements. We have learned that investors who purchased the EquiAlt Funds debentures through FINRA-registered brokerage firm representatives also received the same sales pitch; that is, the debentures are “secure,” “safe,” “low risk,” and “conservative” investments, which was untrue which constitutes securities fraud. If you invested in any of the EquiAlt Funds private placements, you may be able to recoup your losses through a FINRA arbitration proceeding. Mr. Pearce has over 40 years of experience with private placement investment disputes and recovering money for investors lost in Ponzi Schemes. The cases we accept will be filed against FINRA registered broker-dealers for misrepresentation, omissions due to failed due diligence, unsuitable investment recommendations, and unauthorized private securities transactions otherwise known as “selling away.” If Attorney Pearce accepts your case there will be no attorney’s fee or arbitration expenses unless we recover funds for you in a settlement with the brokerage or through an arbitration award. Call 1-800-SEC-ATTY (1-800-732-2889) or email us now and get your questions answered and top notch representation in connection with your EquiAlt Funds private placement investments. If you purchased your investment directly from EquiAlt or BR Support Services, your recovery will probably be limited to what assets the Court Appointed Receiver is able to locate, liquidate, and distribute to investors. However, please call us to find out what recourse is available for this investment fraud.Continue Reading
Looking for fresh capital to invest in order to earn commissions, the early retirement scam has gained popularity among unethical investment advisors and brokers throughout the United States. The Law offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. is representing retirees who were tricked into taking lump sum retirement payments in lieu of the traditional pension payments they slaved away for many years with promises of greater growth and more income with little or no risk. We are also representing other baby boomers, near retirement, who were falsely promised security and income at an earlier stage in their life by accepting early retirement packages or just retiring early and cashing out their 401(k) plan. According to Attorney Pearce many investors have fallen prey to these schemes through elaborate seminars and financial projections that misrepresent or do not fully disclose all of the assumptions or the underlying projections and/or risks of the investment program. Representing clients throughout Florida and nationwide. Too many retirees have elected the lump sum option based on the advice of trusted financial professionals. In these cases, the financial professional improperly recommended the lump sum option because that was the only way that his or her firm could gain control of the retirement assets and generate commissions. As a result, the investors sustained substantial losses and retained our law firm to recover their nest egg. For more information on Early Retirement Scams and our cases, click on the links below: Watch Out for Early Retirement Scams Regulation Best Interest (Reg. BI): Better But Not the Best! 72(t) Early Retirement-Not for me! FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION WITH ATTORNEYS WHO UNDERSTAND EARLY RETIREMENT SCAMS The Law offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. understands and has substantial experience with early retirement scams. We represent victims of such scams and constantly strives to secure justice. Attorney Pearce provides a complete review of your case and fully explains your legal options when you have been scammed out of your retirement funds by unscrupulous brokers and financial advisors. The firm works to ensure that you have all of the information necessary to make a sound decision before any action is taken in your case. For dedicated representation by a law firm with substantial experience in all kinds of securities, commodities and investment disputes, contact the firm by telephone at 561-338-0037 or toll free at 800-732-2889 or via e-mail. We may also be able to arrange a meeting with you at offices located in Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, Miami and West Palm Beach, Florida and elsewhere. 72 (t) Early Retirement-Not for Me! Watch Out for Early Retirement ScamsContinue Reading
On February 11, 2020, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) filed a Complaint for injunctive relief to halt an alleged ongoing fraud conducted by EquiAlt LLC (“EquiAlt”), a private real estate investment company that controlled the business operations of EquiAlt and its four real estate investment funds: EquiAlt Fund, LLC (“Fund I”); EquiAlt Fund II, LLC (“Fund II”); EquiAlt Fund III (“Fund III”); and EA SIP, LLC (“EA SIP Fund”) (collectively referred to as the “EquiAlt Funds”). Simultaneously, the SEC and filed an Emergency Motion to freeze all of the Defendant assets and appoint a Receiver to marshall all of the assets and take control of EquiAlt and the EquiAlt Funds. The Court entered an Order that granted the SEC’s request for Temporary Restraining Order and Asset Freeze and another Order Appointing a Receiver.Continue Reading
Section 72 (t) of the Internal Revenue Code is often touted as the secret to early retirement by brokers and financial advisors at free seminars and free lunches for employees of major corporations with profit-sharing and pension plans and 401(k)s. Presentations are made at upscale hotels and restaurants to induce the employees to retire or cash out their 401(k)s earlier than they might otherwise have done through a fairly unknown loophole that allows you to avoid the IRS penalty for early withdrawal. Employees are also promised that that they can cash in their retirement savings in their 40- 50s, reinvest the money, and live off the proceeds for the rest of their lives. But there is a lot more to early retirement benefits that just avoiding the IRS penalty.Continue Reading
Private Placements have historically been the first source of financing of many of our greatest companies in America. Unfortunately, they have also been the number one source of investment fraud in America. The good news for victims of such frauds is that the attorneys at The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. have over 40 years experience investigating and prosecuting the perpetrators of these type of scams. These securities offerings are generally exempt from registration under the Federal and state securities laws if the issuer complies with the strict letter of the laws. Regulation D is just one of the exemptions that fraudsters commonly rely upon in an attempt to avoid disclosure of important facts relating to a company that might have influenced your investment decision. According to Attorney Pearce the private nature of the investment has given many unscrupulous brokers the opportunity to profit by selling away these unauthorized products due to many brokerage firms’ lack of supervision of their sales force. These investments pose the greatest number of risks to investors, have no liquidity, pay highest commissions, and have caused investors to lose billions of dollars. Representing clients throughout Florida and nationwide Although the private placement market is an important source for small business growth, investors must be wary of fraud, illiquidity, valuation figures, sales practice abuses, and marketing materials issued with inaccurate statements or omitted information pertinent to making a sound investment decision. The following are some of the primary risks associated with investing in private placements: Inadequate disclosure – private placement marketing materials are oftentimes issued with inaccurate statements or omitted information, which are necessary to make an informed investment decision. Lack of liquidity – Private placements are illiquid investments. Redemptions are usually restricted, which means that money can be locked up for months or even years. They are not publicly traded, and there is no ready secondary market where securities can be sold. Imprecise valuation – Since no ready market for private placements exists, valuation is left up to mathematical models that may use unreliable factors. Oftentimes, valuations are left up to personal estimates. Insufficient broker due diligence – broker-dealers that sell risky private placements should carry out rigorous due diligence procedures prior to offering them to their clients. However, too many broker-dealers are ignoring red flags that could prevent clients from suffering investment losses. If a broker-dealer lacks important information about a private placement issuer or its securities it is recommending, the broker-dealer must disclose this fact along with the risks that arise from a lack of information. However, a broker-dealer is not permitted to rely blindly upon an issuer for information about a company, nor may it rely on information given by the issuer or its counsel in the place of conducting its own reasonable investigation. Broker-dealers are required to exercise a high degree of care in investigating and verifying an issuer’s representations and claims. Even if a broker-dealer’s customers are sophisticated and well-educated investors, it does not obviate their duty to conduct a reasonable investigation. For more information about Private Placements/ Reg. D Offerings and our cases and investigations, click on the links below: GPB Capital Fund Investors: How Do You Recover Your GPB Capital Investment Losses? Investing in Private Placements/ Reg. D Offerings EquiAlt Private Placement Investments FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION WITH PRIVATE PLACEMENT AND REGULATION D INVESTMENT DISPUTE ATTORNEYS The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. understands what is at stake in Private Placement and Regulation D investment law matters and constantly strives to secure the most favorable possible result. Attorney Pearce provides a complete review of your case and fully explains your legal options. The firm works to ensure that you have all of the information necessary to make a sound decision before any action is taken in your case. For dedicated representation by a law firm with substantial experience in all kinds of securities, commodities and investment disputes, contact the firm by telephone at 561-338-0037 or toll free at 800-732-2889 or via e-mail.Continue Reading
Brokers and their investor clients may think they understand these investments but we at The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. are seeing and hearing otherwise. According to Attorney Pearce one widespread misconception is that they trade like open ended mutual funds; wrong, they trade like closed end funds, at a premium or discount to their actual net asset value. Many of the niche ETFs in the marketplace are very small and illiquid funds and consequently very volatile. Some ETFs and ETNs are heavily leveraged, utilize short trading strategies and invest in derivatives or hedge funds which compound the risk of loss. ETNs add credit risk of the issuers to the mix and so, the issuer due diligence is very important to an investment decision. Representing clients throughout Florida and nationwide ETFs have become more complex in recent years. Wall Street, in its efforts to generate more profits, has created numerous ETFs that utilize leverage and focus on narrower market sectors, which increases risk for investors. Therefore, investors considering ETFs should evaluate each ETF investment individually and not assume all ETFs are alike. Two types of ETFs that pose a significant risk to investors’ portfolios are leveraged and inverse leveraged funds. Leverage is a technique used in the financial industry to multiply investment gains by using borrowed money. If, however, an investment is generating losses, money can be lost at a multiple rate due to the amount of money owed. Leveraged ETFs seek to deliver multiples of the performance of an index by using borrowed funds. Inverse leveraged funds also use borrowed funds to achieve multiples of the opposite of the movement of an index by employing a range of investment strategies such as swaps, futures contracts, and other derivative investments. Thus, leveraged and inverse leveraged funds can lose many times their value in a single day, which could ultimately lead to significant losses for investors. Exchange-traded notes (ETNs) are unsecured debt obligations, usually issued by a bank or other type of financial institution, that trade on an exchange. They are different from traditional bonds in many ways. For example, ETNs usually do not make any interest payments to investors. Instead, the issuer purports to pay the holder of the ETN an amount determined by the performance of the underlying index on the ETN’s maturity date – 10, 30, or in some cases even 40 years from issuance – minus any fees. ETNs trade on exchanges throughout the day at prices determined by the market, similar to stocks. ETNs do not buy or hold assets to duplicate the performance of the underlying index, and they are not registered investment companies and therefore are not subject to the same registration, disclosure, and other regulatory requirements as most ETFs or mutual funds. For more information about ETFs and ETNs and our cases and investigations, click on the links below: UBS ETRAC Exchange Traded Note Investors: How Do You Recover Your UBS ETRAC Investment Losses? Investing in ETFs FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION WITH ETF AND ETN INVESTMENT DISPUTE ATTORNEYS The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. understands what is at stake in securities, commodities and ETF and ETN investment law matters and constantly strives to secure the most favorable possible result. Attorney Pearce provides a complete review of your case and fully explains your legal options. The firm works to ensure that you have all of the information necessary to make a sound decision before any action is taken in your case. For dedicated representation by a law firm with substantial experience in all kinds of securities, commodities and investment disputes, contact the firm by telephone at 561-338-0037 or toll free at 800-732-2889 or via e-mail.Continue Reading
The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. is currently investigating the UBS Puerto Rico bond funds and seeking to recover losses of many investors residing in Puerto Rico. Many investors purchased the island’s debt through closed-end mutual funds, which in many cases held more than 70 percent of assets in Puerto Rican bonds and employed leverage. The steep decline in Puerto Rican bond prices is believed to be linked to worries about Puerto Rico’s shrinking economy, double-digit unemployment rate, and individual debt. Such fears ignited a wave of selling that briefly pushed some Puerto Rican bond yields to over 10 percent, which in turn caused bond prices to spiral downward.Continue Reading