FINRA Bars J.P. Morgan Rep Ricardo Rodriguez-Stern

FINRA Bars J.P. Morgan Rep Ricardo Rodriguez-Stern

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. (FINRA) has barred former J.P. Morgan rep and securities broker Ricardo Rodriguez-Stern from the securities industry. The regulator was investigating customer complaints against Rodriguez-Stern, who failed to appear at a hearing.

Ricardo Rodriguez-Stern Investigated by FINRA

J.P. Morgan terminated Rodriguez-Stern in January 2016 for improper account access. According to a report filed by FINRA, Rodriguez-Stern accessed a client’s account to contact them for personal reasons.

After the termination, FINRA opened an investigation into Rodriguez-Stern’s activities. The broker allegedly failed to disclose 10 unsatisfied tax liens and several civil judgments filed between 2006 and 2013. FINRA’s enforcement department also planned to investigate the circumstances surrounding 12 customer complaints against the broker.

Rodriguez-Stern joined Chase Investment Services in 2010, which changed its named to J.P. Morgan Securities in 2012. Prior to J.P. Morgan he held positions at American Capital Partners, Merrill Lynch, Gunn Allen and AXA Advisors.

Are You a Victim of Stockbroker Misconduct?

If you lost money as a result of former J.P. Morgan broker Ricardo Rodriguez-Stern or have been a victim of stockbroker misconduct, contact a qualified investment fraud attorney today.

Call an Investment Fraud Attorney Today


If you are looking for an investment fraud attorney to review your rights and options, the investment fraud lawyers at Dimond Kaplan & Rothstein, P.A. have recovered more than $100 million from banks and brokerage firms for their wrongful actions.

With offices in Los AngelesNew YorkWest Palm Beach, Miami, and Detroit, our investment fraud attorneys represent clients nationwide and can help you recover your investment  losses.

Contact an investment fraud attorney at Dimond Kaplan & Rothstein, P.A. today to schedule an appointment or consultation to review your rights and options.

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TV Station Schemer Colin A. Chisholm Must Pay $2.1M

TV Station Schemer Colin A. Chisholm to Pay $2.1M

TV Station Schemer Colin A. Chisholm III has been sentenced to four years in prison and $2.1 million in restitution for stealing more than $2 million from investors. According to court documents, Chisholm solicited investors claiming investor money would be used to help fund a satellite television network startup.

Chisholm was charged in December 2015 for scamming investors when he claimed that he was on the verge of securing significant funding for a television startup company called The Caribbean Television Network Inc., or TCN. According to federal prosecutors, he claimed that the network was on the verge of securing millions of dollars in funds and, in the interim, he needed investor funds while the TV network was getting set up.

According to the indictment, investors’ money was used to satisfy a more than $250,000 judgment after Verizon Select Services had mistakenly wired money to one of Chisholm’s former businesses, long-distance phone company Caribtel Ltd., that Chisholm them had used for his own purposes. Other funds were used for Chisholm’s lifestyle, including purchase of a yacht, health and wellness expenses, and the rental of a home at Lake Minnetonka.

The TV Station schemer kept up the ruse for more than decade – lying to investors and potential investors about progress. He also lied about his personal and professional background, claiming that he worked with media mogul Ted Turner and had ties to the Bush family. According to the indictment, all of these claims were false.

Chisholm Ordered to Turn Himself In

Chisholm was ordered to turn himself in to federal authorities by Sept. 25. He was sentenced to 48 months in prison, with three years of supervised release for one count of mail fraud. The court dismissed five remaining counts of mail fraud and seven counts of wire fraud. He also has been ordered to pay approximately $2.1 million in restitution. 

Are You a Victim of Colin A. Chisholm?

If you believe you have been the victim of fraud committed by Colin A. Chisholm, you may have certain legal rights that require your immediate attention.

Call an Investment Fraud Attorney Today

If you are looking for an investment fraud attorney to review your rights and options, the investment fraud lawyers at Dimond Kaplan & Rothstein, P.A. have recovered more than $100 million from banks and brokerage firms for their wrongful actions.

With offices in Los AngelesNew YorkWest Palm Beach and Miami, our investment fraud attorneys represent clients nationwide and may be able to help you recover your investment losses.

Contact an investment fraud attorney at Dimond Kaplan & Rothstein, P.A. today to schedule an appointment or consultation to review your rights and options.

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Hatzenbeller Sentenced in Securities Fraud Case

Hatzenbeller Sentenced in Securities Fraud Case

Ken Hatzenbeller has been convicted of securities fraud in a state lawsuit. Haztenbeller was charged with securities fraud in 2016 after investors in his Shoot the Moon restaurant group reported to the state that their investments had evaporated. The company had claimed bankruptcy in October 2016.

Hatzenbeller Pleads No Contest

Hatzenbeller pleaded no contest to one count of fraudulent securities practices, receiving a six-year deferred sentence. In late June, Hatzenbeller had signed a plea agreement with prosecutors from the Montana State Auditor’s agreeing to pay restitution totaling more than $1.7 million. The agreement also included probationary conditions for six years. In exchange for the plea, prosecutors agreed to drop four additional fraudulent securities-related charges, all felonies.

In the June plea deal, Hatzenbeller stated that he had the ability to pay the monetary obligations of the deal but since then, his monetary situation has changed.

In a parallel action, Haztenbeller was also sentenced on federal charges in late June. In that case, he agreed to pay back another $1 million to a Utah bank for spending a $500,000 loan on payroll rather than on restaurant fixtures.

Securities Fraud Case Coming to a Close

Hatzenbeller’s hearing was the last in a series of hearings since the bankruptcy filing of Shoot the Moon in October 2015. The restaurant group owned a dozen restaurants across Montana, Idaho, and Washington state.

As a result of misdealings on the part of Hatzenbeller, charges were brought against him in both state and federal court under criminal and civil cases. In another case he received a 30-month sentence in federal prison in Sheridan, Oregan. His lawyer has said Hatzenbeller will report to prison, as ordered, on July 25.

Did You Lose Money in an Investor Scam?

If you invested with the Chans or think you may be involved in a scam, you may have certain legal rights that require your immediate attention.

Call a Securities Fraud Attorney Today

If you are looking for a securities fraud attorney to review your rights and options, the securities fraud lawyers at Dimond Kaplan & Rothstein, P.A. have recovered more than $100 million from for clients for wrongful actions.

With offices in Los AngelesNew YorkWest Palm Beach and Miami, our securities attorneys represent clients nationwide and may be able to help you recover your investment losses.

Contact a securities fraud attorney at Dimond Kaplan & Rothstein, P.A. today to schedule an appointment or consultation to review your rights and options.

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ARCP CFO Brian Block Guilty of Securities Fraud

ARCP CFO Brian Block Guilty of Securities Fraud

Brian Block, a former chief financial officer of American Realty Capital Properties Inc., has been found guilty of securities fraud after an 18-day trial. Prosecutors said that Block inflated the real estate investment firm’s results.

A New York federal jury found Mr. Block guilty of all six counts for which he was tried: conspiracy to commit securities fraud and other offenses, securities fraud, and two each for making false filings to the Securities and Exchange Commission and submitting false certifications to the SEC.

The charges of securities fraud, false filings, and false certification each carry a maximum prison term of 20 years. The conspiracy charge carries a maximum term of five years.

Last year, the ARCP CFO Brian Block pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy and securities fraud, stemming from the accounting of adjusted funds from operation (AFFO) at the REIT.

American Realty Capital Properties REIT

American Realty Capital Properties Inc. is a giant REIT once controlled by Nicholas Schorsch, the undisputed leader of the nontraded REIT business. Once the investigation was underway, Schorsch resigned from the boards of American Realty and other companies he had sponsored when the SEC and Justice Department launched investigations against the company in 2014.

The company has since changed its name to Vereit Inc. and is under new management.

Have You Been a Victim of Investment Fraud?

If you are the victim of investment fraud or believe you have been scammed, you may have certain legal rights that require your immediate attention.

Call an Investment Fraud Attorney Today

If you are looking for an attorney to review your rights and options, the securities lawyers at Dimond Kaplan & Rothstein, P.A. have recovered more than $100 million from banks and brokerages firms for their wrongful actions.

Contact an attorney at Dimond Kaplan & Rothstein, P.A. today to schedule an appointment or consultation to review your rights and options.

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The pump-and-dump scam was a $250 million scheme.

Two Men Sentenced in $250 Million Pump-And-Dump Scam

Pump-And-Dump Scam Related to Cynk Technology Corp

A Brooklyn federal judge just sentenced two men to a 12-year and 6-year prison sentence for setting up companies that facilitated a $250 million scheme, related to Cynk Technology Corp., in offshore stock fraud, tax dodging and money laundering.

Robert Bandfield, who set up entities in Belize, was arrested upon his return to Florida to celebrate his birthday in 2014. Bandfield claimed that his involvement went beyond helping others create offshore entities, while the prosecution claimed it had strong evidence to the contrary and a lack of transparency regarding where much of the money went.

Before Bandfield was sentenced, Gregg Mulholland was sentenced for using offshore entities set up by Bandfield, including Legacy Global Markets SA, to engage in fraud that duped investors out of thousands of shares of Cynk Technology Corp., simultaneously circumventing IRS requirements under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act and to launder the fraudulent proceeds. Mulholland tried to flee the U.S. when he found out about Bandfield’s arrest.

Mulholland pled guilty to one count of money laundering conspiracy, while Bandfield was ordered to forfeit $1 million and his interests in several entities he created. Mulholland was ordered to forfeit his airplane, luxury car, two real estate properties in Canada and securities on deposits at more than 25 bank and brokerage accounts.

Six other defendants named in a five-count complaint from last year and remain at large and are considered fugitives. They are: Brian de Wit, Paula Psyllakis, Kelvin Leach, Rohn Knowles, Cem Can and Andrew Godfrey.

Did you invest with Cynk Technology Corp?

If you invested in one of the schemes run by Robert Bandfield or Gregg Mulholland, or invested in a similar pump-and-dump scam, you may have certain legal rights that require your immediate attention.

Call a Los Angeles Securities Fraud Attorney Today

Contact an experienced Los Angeles securities attorney today for a consultation to discuss your rights and options.

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Paperwork stack concept showing how the referral scheme was hid from the client.

Attorney & Investment Adviser Charged in Referral Scheme

An attorney and investment adviser have settled SEC charges over a referral scheme they created to disguise illicit fees. The referral scheme was created to disguise payments from an elderly widow’s account to the attorney for “legal services”, which were actually illicit fees for referring her accounts valued at more than $100 million to the investment adviser.

Attorney Peter Hershman of Connecticut and adviser John Rafal, who was once president and CEO of Essex Financial Services Inc., agreed to pay $90,000 and $575,000, respectively, for failing to disclose the lawyer’s improper fees, which was a violation of securities laws. Essex Financial Services also agreed to pay more than $180,000 in disgorgement to end claims against the brokerage firm related to Rafal’s actions. Hershman and Rafal had known each other for 25 years. In 2011, they agreed that Hershman would get an annual fee of $50,000 from the client’s advisory fees, though Hershman was not registered as an investment adviser.

Instead of telling their client about the referral fees, they disguised the payments through fake legal invoices to avoid detection. Essex employees discovered the scheme, after which Rafal was let go from the company and Hershman was asked to return the money paid to him. Instead, Rafal transferred an additional $24,570 from another account under his control.

Hershman told the SEC that he returned all the fees gained from the referral scheme back to Essex Financial, which was untrue, causing an investigation with the Massachusetts U.S. attorney’s office. Criminal charges against Hershman. When concerned Essex clients caught wind of rumors regarding Rafal’s actions, Rafal sent emails telling them he had been investigated and fully exonerated. Senior officials ordered him to retract the statements.

Call a Los Angeles Securities Fraud Attorney Today

Even though referral fees can be legal in certain circumstances, that is not always the case. If you believe you have been charged for services that cannot be explained or do not make sense to you, you may have certain legal rights that require your immediate attention.

Contact an experienced Los Angeles securities fraud attorneytoday for a consultation to discuss your rights and options.

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Stock market ticker showing figures of the stock market.

Investor Lawsuit Against NantKwest Moves to California Federal Court

A California investor lawsuit filed in Los Angeles County over allegedly misleading statements relating to a $240 million IPO has been moved to federal court in the Central District of California. The lawsuit concerns the July 2015 initial public offering of shares in NantKwest, a cancer treatment company.

The case was filed by investor Craig Wiencek, who accused defendants Cambridge Equities LP and MP 13 of misleading investors, and accusing NantKwest CEO Soon-Shiong, who controls Cambridge Equities and MP 13, of failing to disclose material defects in NantKwest’s internal financial controls before the initial public offering.

A separate putative class action was filed against NantKwest in Los Angeles County court, alleging that investment firms Citigroup and Merrill Lynch, as well as others involved with the IPO, had overstated NantKwest’s financial prospects, leading to a dramatic drop in stock price. In that lawsuit, NantKwest was accused of negligence in preparing its IPO registration statement and that its underwriters failed to properly investigate the company.

The company’s stock price dropped from $25 to $7.

Call a Los Angeles Stock Fraud Attorney Today

If you invested NantKwest, Cambridge Equities, or MP 13, you may have certain legal rights that require your immediate attention.

Contact an experienced Los Angeles stock fraud attorney today for a consultation to discuss your rights and options.

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Business man with briefcase going up a staircase.

SEC Accuses California Adviser of Athlete Fraud

The U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission has frozen the assets of a former investment adviser in California after the adviser allegedly funneled $33 million from NFL and MLB players to help prop up his failing ticket reservation business.

According to the lawsuit filed by the SEC, Ash Narayan, a former investment adviser at RGT Capital Management, bilked clients including San Francisco Giants pitcher Jake Peavy and Denver Broncos quarterback Mark Sanchez, among others, by shifting their funds to his ticket business, The Ticket Reserve Inc. Narayan failed to tell his investors of his interest in the company, and in many cases, did not obtain their authorization prior to doing so.

Narayan allegedly used his and the athletes’ mutual religious faith to induce the athletes to invest with him. He also misrepresented himself as a certified professional accountant in order to gain his clients’ trust. In addition to the millions that went to his ailing company, he also took more than $1.8 million in “finder’s fees” from client funds, later characterizing these fees as loans. In order to hide the fact that his business was failing, Narayan made Ponzi-style payments to clients.

In May, Ticket Reserve shareholders filed a derivative lawsuit on behalf of the company claiming company executives breached their fiduciary duty to the company by wasting corporate assets and taking on loans that only could be repaid by issuing equity-diluting stocks and options.

The SEC lawsuit also named The Ticket Reserve Inc.’s CEO Richard Harmon and COO John Kaptrosky in the suit.

Call a Los Angeles Securities Fraud Attorney Today

If you invested with Ash Narayan or The Ticket Reserve Inc., you may have certain legal rights that require your immediate attention.

Contact an experienced Los Angeles securities fraud attorney today for a consultation to discuss your rights and options.

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Wedbush Fined by FINRA & Nasdaq Over Supervisory Failures

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and Nasdaq have fined Los Angeles brokerage firm, Wedbush Securities, $675,000 over its role in a client’s redemption activity and trading of exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

Wedbush’s broker-dealer customer, Scout Trading LLC, routinely submitted naked redemption orders in ETFs, according to FINRA and Nasdaq. This means that they were taking insufficiently long positions, which coupled with the short selling of funds on the secondary market, resulting in substantial and repeated failures to deliver by Wedbush.

This is not the first time Wedbush has been fined by securities regulators, and our firm has covered Wedbush’s saga in detail here, including the SEC’s $2.44 million fine in November 2014 over alleged willful violations concerning the SEC’s market access rule.

The activity at issue in this matter took place between January 2010 and March 2012, during which time Scout Trading submitted at least 255 naked redemption orders through Wedbush. The firm acted as the clearing firm for Scout in 11 ETFs, totaling more than 295 million shares being transacted.

As the clearing firm for Scout, Wedbush had a duty to learn whether the brokerage owned or had the right to redeem the necessary number of ETF shares associated with its orders. Wedbush also was accused of failing to take sufficient action over Scout Trading’s “systemic and cyclical fails to deliver,” according to FINRA and Nasdaq.

Scout Trading’s scheme started with the submission of creation orders, which were used to create new shares of the ETFs, which would go through Wedbush to close out the fails to deliver. Instead, Scout sold the ETFs on the secondary market with Wedbush’s help, leading to ill-gotten profits.

Did You Invest with Wedbush?

The attorneys at Dimond Kaplan & Rothstein, P.A. have recovered more than $100 million from banks and brokerage firms for their wrongful actions. If you invested with Wedbush Securities or dealt with Scout Trading, you may have certain legal rights that require your immediate attention. Contact us to schedule an appointment or consultation today.

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UBS to Pay $33M in RMBS Credit Union Agreement

A UBS AG unit will pay more than $33 million to settle claims brought by the National Credit Union Association (NCUA) that UBS lied on certain offering documents for residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS), according to a federal court filing.

UBS Securities LLC will pay the money to close out the lawsuit filed by NCUA acting in its capacity as liquidating agent for Southwest Corporate Federal Credit Union and Members United Corporate Federal Credit Union. As is typical with such settlements, UBS does not admit any fault as part of the settlement.

The NCUA stated that the RMBS certificates contained offering documents with misstatements regarding compliance with certain underwriting guidelines and reduced documentation standards, including the disclosed loan-to-value ratios.

According to court filings, when they were purchased in 2007, the securities were given an AAA rating but were downgraded to “junk” status by late 2008, contributing to the downfall of both RMBS credit unions.

Call a Los Angeles Investment Fraud Attorney Today

If you invested with Southwest Corporate or Members United Corporate and lost money, you may have certain legal rights that require your immediate attention. Contact an experienced Los Angeles investment fraud attorney for a consultation today.

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