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 companys’ 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

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The most common investor claims have been claims for misrepresentationfailure to disclose important informationunsuitable recommendationschurning or excessive trading, and unauthorized trading in stocksbondsmutual 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:

It’s Not Too Late for Investors to Obtain Recovery of MAT/ASTA Municipal Arbitrage Losses

Investors who purchased MAT/ASTA municipal arbitrage funds between 2002 through 2005 may mistakenly believe that they have waited too long and it is too late to pursue a claim for damages against Citigroup. Fortunately, this is not the case. While statutes of limitation may arguably bar some claims based on deceitful sales practices such as misrepresentation and omission for some early MAT/ASTA investors, other legal claims exist that are clearly not barred, even for early investors in the funds. That was demonstrated by an August 2010 Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) award exceeding $1.8 million to a MAT/ASTA investor. See Gerald J. Kazma, as Trustee of the Gerald J. Kazma Revocable Trust, et al. vs. Citigroup Global Markets, Inc., et al, FINRA Dispute Resolution Arbitration Number 09‑02697. The Kazma family was represented by Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. of Boca Raton, Florida. Mr Pearce and his firm recently entered into an agreement with Page Perry, LLC to jointly investigate and prosecute MAT/ASTA claims. In the Kazma case, the arbitrators specifically found that Citigroup and Citigroup Alternative Investments, LLC negligently mismanaged the MAT/ASTA funds and negligently supervised their employees. Because Citigroup’s mismanagement of MAT/ASTA began during 2006 through 2007 and continued through early 2008, even early investors in the funds are now eligible to pursue their claims. Thus, claims based on mismanagement and negligent supervision in 2006 and 2007 remain actionable under the laws of most states. The impact of the decision is that it greatly expands the number of potential clients who can pursue valid claims against Citigroup and its affiliates. The Kazma award also strongly suggests that any MAT/ASTA investor, even a Citigroup employee who had no involvement with the funds, can file a claim for negligent management and may well recover his losses. While there is, of course, no guarantee that other arbitration panels will follow the Kazma award and reach the same conclusion, the decision is nonetheless significant in that it gives many MAT/ASTA investors the opportunity to finally recover the damages they sustained through no fault of their own. A PRUDENT CASE APPROACH Mr. Pearce, a former SEC attorney with over 40 years experience, focuses his practice on securities matters. He is a member of the Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association and serves as Chairperson of the SPBCBA Securities Committee. He has represented hundreds of investors in securities arbitration and have prosecuted multiple MAT/ASTA arbitration claims. Between them they have already been involved in representing almost 50 clients throughout the country in MAT/ASTA cases. The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. follows a multi‑theory approach encompassing three separate bases for recovery, depending on the facts and circumstances of the particular investor’s case. These include: (1) MAT/ASTA was a flawed investment product; (2) Citigroup and its affiliates misrepresented and failed to disclose material facts at the time the investor was sold the investment; and (3) Citigroup and its affiliates were guilty of negligent mismanagement of MAT/ASTA and negligent supervision of their employees. We believe that this approach gives investors three separate bases for recovering damages and enhances the likelihood of an award. We prefer not to put all of our clients’ “eggs in one basket.” If you are seeking a law firm with integrity, dedication, and substantial experience in MAT/ASTA fraud and mismanagement disputes, please schedule a confidential consultation with Mr. Pearce today. Call our firm at 561-338-0037 or toll-free at 800-732-2889, or fill out our intake form to schedule your free consultation.

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Citigroup Affiliates Found Liable for Mismanaging the MAT/ASTA Municipal Arbitrage Funds

In a recent Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) arbitration, a South Florida panel specifically found that Respondents Citigroup Global Markets, Inc. f/k/a Citigroup Investment Services, and Citigroup Alternative Investments, LLC were guilty of negligent mismanagement of MAT/ASTA funds, as well as negligent supervision of their registered representatives. This award should open the door for many investors to recover the damages they sustained, particularly in early MAT/ASTA deals. The FINRA arbitration panel awarded more than $1.8 million to Gerald J. Kazma Revocable Trust and Amzak Capital Management, LLC in connection with their purchases of MAT/ASTA municipal arbitrage fund investments. MAT/ASTA was a series of leveraged municipal arbitrage hedge funds offered by Citigroup Fixed Income Alternatives and sold through Smith Barney and Citigroup Private Bankers. MAT/ASTA was marketed only to high net worth clients of the firm as a fixed income alternative. In truth the MAT/ASTA funds were risky investments that exposed investors to a 100 percent or more loss of principal. The funds imploded in early 2008 causing catastrophic losses to investors. The award is particularly noteworthy because the arbitration panel expressly found that Citigroup and its affiliates mismanaged the fund, and also that they failed to supervise. Specific findings like those made by the arbitration panel in this case are unusual, and are suggestive of an intent by the arbitrators to send a message. Despite widespread evidence of material misrepresentations and omissions, Citigroup has elected to employ the “blame the customer” defense, which arbitration panels have rejected. When confronted with evidence that Citigroup misrepresented MAT/ASTA’s risk level to their brokers who passed the misleading information on to their clients, a high ranking Citigroup official said that it would be “unwise” for customers of the firm to rely on what their broker told them about a recommended product. A PRUDENT CASE APPROACH Mr. Pearce, a former SEC attorney with over 40 years experience, focuses his practice on securities matters. He is a member of the Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association and serves as Chairperson of the SPBCBA Securities Committee. He has represented hundreds of investors in securities arbitration and have prosecuted multiple MAT/ASTA arbitration claims. Between them they have already been involved in representing almost 50 clients throughout the country in MAT/ASTA cases. The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. follows a multi‑theory approach encompassing three separate bases for recovery, depending on the facts and circumstances of the particular investor’s case. These include: (1) MAT/ASTA was a flawed investment product; (2) Citigroup and its affiliates misrepresented and failed to disclose material facts at the time the investor was sold the investment; and (3) Citigroup and its affiliates were guilty of negligent mismanagement of MAT/ASTA and negligent supervision of their employees. We believe that this approach gives investors three separate bases for recovering damages and enhances the likelihood of an award. We prefer not to put all of our clients’ “eggs in one basket.” If you are seeking a law firm with integrity, dedication, and substantial experience in MAT/ASTA fraud and mismanagement disputes, please schedule a confidential consultation with Mr. Pearce today. Call our firm at 561-338-0037 or toll-free at 800-732-2889, or fill out our intake form to schedule your free consultation.

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Brokers May Reap Big Rewards for Reporting Alleged Fraudulent Conduct By Citigroup

BROKERS MAY REAP BIG REWARDS FOR REPORTING ALLEGED FRAUDULENT CONDUCT BY CITIGROUP IN THE MAT/ASTA MUNICIPAL ARBITRAGE FUNDS The Wall Street Journal reports that several former Citigroup/Smith Barney brokers have been sharing information with the SEC about alleged fraudulent practices associated with the MAT/ASTA municipal bond arbitrage funds that lost more than 75% of their value between 2007 and 2008. (“Citi Debt Funds Probed by SEC,” 11/8/10). These brokers may stand to be compensated handsomely if the SEC imposes big financial penalties against Citigroup for misrepresenting the risks of MAT/ASTA funds. That is because of an obscure provision in the recently enacted Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Act creating a financial rewards program that can pay a large sum of money to any person who provides “original information” to the SEC that leads to a successful enforcement action relating to the violation of federal securities laws. The Act provides for payments to “whistleblowers” ranging between 10% and 30% of the amount recovered by the SEC. Given that recent SEC fines have been in the hundreds of millions of dollars, there is the potential for a lot of money to be made by both whistleblowers and their lawyers, who typically handle such cases on a contingent fee or percentage basis. The new law allows whistleblowers represented by lawyers to present their information and claims anonymously, and it also contains legal prohibitions against industry retaliation as well as the right to sue any employer in the industry who retaliates against a whistleblower. According to Atlanta attorney Craig T. Jones of Page Perry LLC, “it is crucial that the whistleblower have a lawyer to not only protect his or her legal rights, but to confidentially funnel the information to the appropriate officials while protecting the client’s anonymity and negotiating for the best possible reward.” The new law also makes it illegal for brokerage firms to retaliate against whistleblowers, giving whistleblowers the right to sue their employers if they are fired, demoted, or blackballed for reporting misconduct to management or regulators. Robert Pearce represents dozens of investors who lost money in the MAT/ASTA funds and were marketed as being a low-risk fixed income alternative but which were actually a very high risk investment as Citigroup well knew. Mr. Pearce’s “recent MAT/ASTA arbitration awards against Citigroup including a $1.8 million award in the Kazma v Citigroup where arbitrators specifically found that Citigroup was guilty of negligent mismanagement and negligent supervision which are clearly not individual broker problems may provide support for the brokers’ efforts.” The brokers who were mentioned in the Wall Street Journal article ‘blew the whistle’ on Citigroup because they obviously believed that it had falsely marketed a flawed product to the brokers’ best customers and engaged in other misconduct, causing the brokers to lose business, suffer damage to professional reputation, and be subjected to legal action. While The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. only represents investors in the Citigroup MAT-ASTA cases, “we regularly talk with brokers and other financial industry whistleblowers in cases where we are not representing customers.” Mr. Pearce, a former SEC attorney with over 40 years experience, focuses his practice on securities matters. He is a member of the Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association and serves as Chairperson of the SPBCBA Securities Committee. Mr. Pearce has represented hundreds of investors in securities arbitration and have prosecuted multiple MAT/ASTA arbitration claims. He is currently representing almost 50 clients throughout the country in MAT/ASTA cases. The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. follows a multi‑theory approach encompassing three separate bases for recovery, depending on the facts and circumstances of the particular investor’s case. These include: (1) MAT/ASTA was a flawed investment product; (2) Citigroup and its affiliates misrepresented and failed to disclose material facts at the time the investor was sold the investment; and (3) Citigroup and its affiliates were guilty of negligent mismanagement of MAT/ASTA and negligent supervision of their employees. We believe that this approach gives investors three separate bases for recovering damages and enhances the likelihood of an award. We prefer not to put all of our clients’ “eggs in one basket.” If you are seeking a law firm with integrity, dedication, and substantial experience in MAT/ASTA fraud and mismanagement disputes, please schedule a confidential consultation with Mr. Pearce today. Call our firm at 561-338-0037 or toll-free at 800-732-2889, or fill out our intake form to schedule your free consultation.

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The UBS Lehman Brothers “100% Principal Protection” Note Fraud

In April 2011, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) fined UBS Financial Services, Inc. (UBS) $2.5 million and ordered the broker dealer to pay $8.25 million in restitution for false and misleading representations regarding the so-called “principal protection” feature of the 100% Principal-Protection Notes issued by Lehman Brothers Holdings, Inc. (Lehman PPNs) .

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MAT/ASTA Municipal Arbitrage Funds – Citi’s Latest Product Problem

Citigroup misled its representatives who sold the firm’s MAT/ASTA municipal arbitrage hedge funds, and arbitrators are placing the blame squarely on the firm, according to a September 5 article by Bruce Kelly in Investment News (“Arbitrators: B-Ds Kept Brokers in the Dark on Private Deals”). Brokers at Citigroup’s former brokerage unit, Smith Barney, sold more than $2 billion of the MAT/ASTA funds as low-risk, fixed-in-come alternative investments, beginning in 2002. Those funds lost between 30% and 100% of their value, according to the article. Last month, a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) arbitration panel specifically found that Citigroup Global Markets Inc. was liable for “negligent management” of the MAT/ASTA funds, and ordered the firm to pay $1.82 million in damages. The arbitrators’ finding of mismanagement by Citigroup is an indication of the severity of the problem at that firm, according to attorney Robert Pearce, who represented the client in that claim. “There are tons of conflicts in these products and how they’re offered,” Mr. Pearce was quoted as saying, adding: “The financial advisers are the tools to sell these products, and they don’t get the full scoop on who’s managing them. The blow-up was due to management, who then passed it along to the advisers.” “The best advisers at Smith Barney sold MAT and ASTA to their best clients and wound up feeling totally betrayed by Smith Barney,” an industry recruiter was quoted as saying, adding: “in terms of a loss of faith in the firm, this is as big as anything.” The financial advisors who sold MAT/ASTA Funds to their clients trusted Citigroup to honestly inform them about the nature and risks of the funds and to manage the funds within established guidelines. That trust was betrayed. Based on our analyses and evaluations of the facts, we have made a conscious decision not to name financial advisors in these cases. The brokers will not be named in MAT/ASTA arbitrations filed by our law firm. A PRUDENT CASE APPROACH Mr. Pearce, a former SEC attorney with over 40 years experience, focuses his practice on securities matters. He is a member of the Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association and serves as Chairperson of the SPBCBA Securities Committee. Mr. Pearce has represented hundreds of investors in securities arbitration and have prosecuted multiple MAT/ASTA arbitration claims. He is currently representing almost 50 clients throughout the country in MAT/ASTA cases. The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. follows a multi‑theory approach encompassing three separate bases for recovery, depending on the facts and circumstances of the particular investor’s case. These include: (1) MAT/ASTA was a flawed investment product; (2) Citigroup and its affiliates misrepresented and failed to disclose material facts at the time the investor was sold the investment; and (3) Citigroup and its affiliates were guilty of negligent mismanagement of MAT/ASTA and negligent supervision of their employees. We believe that this approach gives investors three separate bases for recovering damages and enhances the likelihood of an award. We prefer not to put all of our clients’ “eggs in one basket.” If you are seeking a law firm with integrity, dedication, and substantial experience in MAT/ASTA fraud and mismanagement disputes, please schedule a confidential consultation with Mr. Pearce today. Call our firm at 561-338-0037 or toll-free at 800-732-2889, or fill out our intake form to schedule your free consultation.

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Citigroup’s Mismanagement of MAT/ASTA Funds Produces

In his September 9, 2010 article in The Bond Buyer entitled “Judgment Aids Investors in Citi Case,” author Dan Seymour describes a recent Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) arbitration award of more than $1.8 million in favor of MAT/ASTA investors as “[a] grand-slam judgment [that] has emboldened the lawyers and investors seeking to recoup losses on $2 billion in municipal arbitrage funds run by Citigroup.” The amount of the award, while very substantial, is not the focus of the article. The reason why it is making news is the arbitration panel’s specific finding that Citigroup was guilty of negligent mismanagement of the MAT/ASTA funds, as well as negligent supervision of their employees. Citing J. Boyd Page, senior partner of Page Perry, LLC, Mr. Seymour noted that this was the first time that arbitrators explicitly found that Citigroup mismanaged the funds. The decision is pivotal because it opens the door to claims by earlier investors that might otherwise be barred by statutes of limitation. Mr. Page estimates that these claims represent $500 million to $700 million of the total $2 billion invested in the MAT/ASTA funds, according to the article. “It tells a lot of people that there are still very viable claims,” Mr. Page was quoted as saying. MAT/ASTA was a series of leveraged municipal arbitrage hedge funds offered by Citigroup Fixed Income Alternatives and sold through Smith Barney and Citigroup Private Bankers. MAT/ASTA was marketed only to high net worth clients of the firm as a fixed income alternative. In truth the MAT/ASTA funds were risky investments that exposed investors to a 100 percent or more loss of principal. The funds imploded in early 2008 causing catastrophic losses to investors. Citigroup told MAT/ASTA investors that it would adhere to a strategy of buying municipal bonds when the prices were low (i.e., when the yield spread of munis over Treasuries was high) and selling them when prices were high (i.e., when that spread ratio was low). Mr. Page and Robert Wayne Pearce, who represented the claimants in the arbitration that is the subject of Mr. Seymour’s article, uncovered evidence that Citigroup departed from these guidelines, buying when it should have been selling. As a result of those efforts, they are in a unique position to establish that Citigroup mismanaged the MAT/ASTA funds. A PRUDENT CASE APPROACH Mr. Pearce, a former SEC attorney with over 40 years experience, focuses his practice on securities matters. He is a member of the Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association and serves as Chairperson of the SPBCBA Securities Committee. He has represented hundreds of investors in securities arbitration and have prosecuted multiple MAT/ASTA arbitration claims. He is currently representing almost 50 clients throughout the country in MAT/ASTA cases. The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. follows a multi‑theory approach encompassing three separate bases for recovery, depending on the facts and circumstances of the particular investor’s case. These include: (1) MAT/ASTA was a flawed investment product; (2) Citigroup and its affiliates misrepresented and failed to disclose material facts at the time the investor was sold the investment; and (3) Citigroup and its affiliates were guilty of negligent mismanagement of MAT/ASTA and negligent supervision of their employees. We believe that this approach gives investors three separate bases for recovering damages and enhances the likelihood of an award. We prefer not to put all of our clients’ “eggs in one basket.” If you are seeking a law firm with integrity, dedication, and substantial experience in MAT/ASTA fraud and mismanagement disputes, please schedule a confidential consultation with Mr. Pearce today. Call our firm at 561-338-0037 or toll-free at 800-732-2889, or fill out our intake form to schedule your free consultation.

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Kazma MAT/ASTA Award is Subject of a Front Page Wall Street Journal Story

A recent front-page Wall Street Journal entitled “Citi Debt Funds Probed by SEC,” which concerns Citi’s disastrous MAT/ASTA municipal arbitrage fund, features a highly significant $1.8 million award issued against Citigroup in a MAT/ASTA case by a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) arbitration panel. The case is Gerald J. Kazma Revocable Trust and Amzak Capital Management, LLC vs. Citigroup Global Markets, Inc. f/k/a Citigroup Investment Services, and Citigroup Alternative Investments, LLC, Case No. 09-02697. The Kazma family was represented by Robert Pearce of Boca Raton, Florida. Mr. Pearce attributes his success in the Kazma arbitration to an intensive two year investigation and access to millions of pages of documents produced by Citigroup to the SEC in the probe. The WSJ reported: In Miami, Gerald Kazma, a retired cable-TV system developer, invested $4 million in MAT funds in early 2006. According to an arbitration claim he later filed, a Citigroup private banker had told him the return and risk were “slightly greater” than a typical municipal-bond portfolio. Citigroup told the securities-industry arbitration panel the funds’ risks were disclosed to Mr. Kazma. The panel this year awarded Mr. Kazma $1.8 million, two-thirds of his loss, citing “negligent management and negligent supervision” by Citigroup. Three other investors have won a total of $2.1 million from Citigroup in arbitrations this year. The Kazma case is significant because the arbitrators found that Citigroup and Citigroup Alternative Investments, LLC negligently mismanaged the MAT/ASTA funds and negligently supervised their employees. Because Citigroup’s mismanagement of MAT/ASTA began during 2006 through 2007 and continued through early 2008, even early investors in the funds are now eligible to pursue their claims. Thus, claims based on mismanagement and negligent supervision in 2006 and 2007 remain actionable under the laws of most states. The impact of the decision is that it greatly expands the number of potential clients who can pursue valid claims against Citigroup and its affiliates. The Kazma award also strongly suggests that any MAT/ASTA investor, even a Citigroup employee who had no involvement with the funds, can file a claim for negligent management and may well recover his losses. Mr. Pearce along with Page Perry law firm in Atlanta, Georgia are prosecuting many other MAT/ASTA fund cases and accepting new clients. A PRUDENT CASE APPROACH Mr. Pearce, a former SEC attorney with over 40 years experience, focuses his practice on securities matters. He is a member of the Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association and serves as Chairperson of the SPBCBA Securities Committee. Mr. Pearce has represented hundreds of investors in securities arbitration and have prosecuted multiple MAT/ASTA arbitration claims. He is currently representing almost 50 clients throughout the country in MAT/ASTA cases. The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. follows a multi‑theory approach encompassing three separate bases for recovery, depending on the facts and circumstances of the particular investor’s case. These include: (1) MAT/ASTA was a flawed investment product; (2) Citigroup and its affiliates misrepresented and failed to disclose material facts at the time the investor was sold the investment; and (3) Citigroup and its affiliates were guilty of negligent mismanagement of MAT/ASTA and negligent supervision of their employees. We believe that this approach gives investors three separate bases for recovering damages and enhances the likelihood of an award. We prefer not to put all of our clients’ “eggs in one basket.” FREE CONSULTATION WITH ATTORNEYS WHO CAN HANDLE YOUR SECURITIES AND COMMODITIES PROBLEMS Contact The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A., in Boca Raton to discuss your MAT / ASTA claim. The firm can be reached by phone at 561-338-0037, toll free at 800-732-2889 or via e-mail.

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Kazma Citigroup Arbitration Award

AWARD FINRA DISPUTE RESOLUTION In the Matter of the Arbitration Between: Names of the Claimants Case Number: 09-02697 Gerald J. Kazma Revocable Trust Amzak Capital Management, LLC Names of the Respondents Hearing Site: Boca Raton, Florida Citigroup Global Markets, Inc. f/k/a Citicorp Investment Services Citigroup Alternative Investments, LLC Nature of the Dispute: Customer vs. Member and Non-Member. REPRESENTATION OF PARTIES For Gerald J. Kazma Revocable Trust (“Kazma”) and Amzak Capital Management, LLC (“ACM”), hereinafter collectively referred to as “Claimants”: Robert Wayne Pearce, Esq., Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A., Boca Raton, Florida. For Citigroup Global Markets, Inc. f/k/a Citicorp Investment Services (“CGM”) and Citigroup Alternative Investments, LLC (“CAI”), hereinafter collectively referred to as “Respondents”: Jason M. Fedo, Esq., Greenberg Traurig, P.A., West Palm Beach, Florida.

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