The Resolution Law Group: SEC Lifts Ban on General Solicitation

Beginning today, September 23, the SEC’s ban on general solicitation is no longer in effect. Those raising funds for corporations can now publish equity offerings on websites for crowdfunding, as well as blog and tweet about them. The move comes in the wake of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act, which was passed last year.

That said, even with the lifting of the general solicitation ban, raising funds for companies will likely remain a difficult endeavor. Funds can only be raised from investors that are accredited, and now, the latter will have to show proof that they fulfill the wealth criteria for accreditation by having an income greater than $200K during the last two years or a net worth of $1M (the value one’s primary residence is not included.)

Would-be fundraisers will need to provide extensive disclosure of offerings not just to the Commission, but also to the public, and there will be tight restrictions and the risk of penalty of a yearlong fundraising ban for violations. Also, in order to avail of being able to engage in general solicitation, startups will have to file a Form D with the regulator at least 15 days prior to starting to solicit. An amended Form D will have to be turned in within 30 days after the termination of an offering.

Still, there are those in the crowdfunding industry that believe that allowing for general solicitation should open up opportunities not just for businesses and entrepreneurs, but also for over 8.7 million accredited investors. Some expected there to be an increase in parties registering as accredited investors.

If you suspect that your investment loses are due to securities fraud, please contact The Resolution Law Group today.

The Resolution Law Group: Stock Trader Faces Front Running Charges In Alleged $1.7M Securities Fraud

The SEC has filed securities fraud chargesagainst Daniel Bergin, a Dallas-based Cushing MLP Asset Management LP senior equity trader. Bergin is accused of front running, insider trading, and failing to notify his employer of certain trades.

According to the regulator, Bergin, who was a primary equity trader at the Swank Capital-owned registered investment advisory firm), allegedly made at least $1.7 million in profits in trading securities before making large orders of the same securities for Cushing customers. He purportedly used accounts that were registered in the name of Jacqueline Zaun, his wife, to make the personal trades. The Commission has named her as a relief defendant.

SEC Enforcement Division’s Asset Management Unit Marshall S. Sprung says that Bergin breached clients’ trust by secretly using data about their trades to garner an unfair advantage for himself and make massive profits. (As a Cushing, employee, Bergin had access to information about the trades (and their timing) that the RIA made for clients.

Per the agency’s complaint, over $520,000 of Bergin’s profits was made through Zaun’s accounts involving 132 instances of front running client orders. Bergin also allegedly used privileged information to trade securities in his wife’s accounts at least 400 times.

The SEC has obtained a court order to freeze the assets of Bergin and Zaun. It wants disgorgement of “illicit trading profits, fines, and interest. It is also pursuing a permanent injunction against Bergin. The Commission’s complaint is alleging Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 violations and the Investment Company Act of 1940 and Rule 17j-1 violation.

Meantime, Swank Capital has fired Bergin, noting that it has a zero tolerance policy for illegal trades. Also, per internal policy, its employees are not allowed to engage in personal securities trading within seven days of a client’s trades.

Front Running
Front running is illegal. It is the term given to when a trader takes a position in an equity before an action that his/her financial firm will take. This can move the equity’s price in a predictable manner. Another term for front running is forward trading.

Traders that engage in front running usually have insider information about their firms’ trades. Front running is often done to personally benefit the trader.

At The Resolution Law Group P.C., our Securities Lawyers know that choosing who will help you invest your money is an important decision. When that trust is breached and your money is negligently mishandled and you find yourself suffering investment losses rather than gains, it is time to contact an experienced front running fraud law firm to explore your legal options. Even if you are resolving your claim via FINRA arbitration, you cannot go wrong by working with an experienced securities arbitration lawyer.

If you suspect that you are the victim of securities fraud, do not hesitate to email or call please contact The Resolution Law Group at (203) 542-7275 for a confidential, no obligation consultation. Our securities fraud attorneys are here to help institutional investors recoup losses that are a result of a financial scam or negligence. Your consultation with us is free.

Lender Litigation, Unlawful Foreclosure, Tarp Money, Mortgage Backed Securities, Derivitives Lawsuits, Insider Trading Lawsuit, SEC Settlements, Ponzi Scheme Lawsuits, Intentional Misrepresentation, Securitized Mortgage, Class Action Securities Lawsuit, Robo-Signing Lawsuit, Lost Equity Litigation, Mortgage Lender Fraud, FINRA Fraud Lawsuit, Suing Banks, Fraudulent Misrepresentation, Short Sale Fraud, Fraudulent Business Practices, Mortgage Litigation, Complex Tort Litigation, Injunctive Relief, MERS Fraud

SEC Needs to File Securities Fraud Lawsuits Sooner, Rules the US Supreme Court

In Gabelli v. SEC, the US Supreme Court has decided that in some securities fraud cases, the SEC needs to move faster when it comes to filing its case. The ruling could affect agencies nationwide.

In a unanimous decision, the justices sided with two officials of Gabelli Funds LLC, who sought to stop the regulator’s claim contending that they acted improperly by allowing a client to take part in market timing. The Commission sought civil penalties from them for illegal activities that allegedly took place leading up to August 2002.

Per the Investment Advisers Act, it is against the law for investment advisers to defraud clients and the regulator is allowed to seek penalties for such actions. However, the Commission only has five years from when the window opens to file. The regulator had argued that Gabelli and Alpert had let Headstart Advisers Ltd. take part in “market timing” in the fund while failing to disclose this and banning others from engaging in the same practice even as statements were issued noting that this was not allowed.

Alpert and Gabelli had argued that the SEC filed its securities complaint about these allegations after the statute of limitations for filing for penalties had passed. They said that under the appeals court decision, which said that the securities fraud lawsuit could go ahead because the statute of limitations doesn’t start with litigation involving fraud until the Commission has grounds to know that there was a violation, the SEC could then make an ancient claim just on the allegation that prior to that it hadn’t and couldn’t have found out about the violation sooner.

The Second Circuit’s ruling, reverses a District Court’s decision to throw out the SEC’s lawsuit against the two men because it said the civil penalty claim was time barred. The Second Circuit, however, disagreed, and accepted the Commissions contention that the discovery rule could be applied, which means that the five-year window to file didn’t start until the regulator found out (or could have reasonably discovered) the fraud.

Now, the US Supreme Court is saying that it never applies the Discovery Rule in a case where the government is the plaintiff bringing an enforcement action that seeks civil penalties in contradistinction to a victim that has been defrauded and wants compensation.

If you, your family, friends, neighbors or associates have been subjected to Broker Misconduct, please contact The Resolution Law Group at (203) 542-7275 for a confidential, no obligation consultation.

Securities fraud robs investors of their money every year. The Resolution Law Group works with institutional and individual investors seeking to recoup those losses.  Call us today. Working with an experienced securities firm increases one’s chances of recovery.

Lender Litigation, Unlawful Foreclosure, Tarp Money, Mortgage Backed Securities, Derivitives Lawsuits, Insider Trading Lawsuit, SEC Settlements, Ponzi Scheme Lawsuits, Intentional Misrepresentation, Securitized Mortgage, Class Action Securities Lawsuit, Robo-Signing Lawsuit, Lost Equity Litigation, Mortgage Lender Fraud, FINRA Fraud Lawsuit, Suing Banks, Fraudulent Misrepresentation, Short Sale Fraud, Fraudulent Business Practices, Mortgage Litigation, Complex Tort Litigation, Injunctive Relief, MERS Fraud

NASAA Wants Investment Advisers To Be Banned From Forcing Clients Into Mandatory Arbitration

The North American Securities Administrations Association Inc. wants Congress to put into place a law to bar investment advisers from making clients go through arbitration to resolve their securities claims. They also want lawmakers to make either the SEC propose a rule that would get rid of the pre-dispute arbitration clauses currently found in broker firm contracts or push for similarly purposed legislation. The association recently unveiled its legislative priorities, which includes getting a discourse going about a recent FINRA panel ruling that found that the self-regulatory organization could not prevent Charles Schwab Corp. (SCHW) from using agreements that include mandatory pre-arbitration clauses to bar clients from taking part in class action securities cases.

NASAA President Heath Abshure has spoken about how giving investors options when it comes to settling claims is key to making them feel more confident about the financial markets. He said that when seeking relief they should have the option of going to the forum of their choice. The association also wants there to be legislation that would let the SEC impose user fees when investment advisors take exams (The group’s members believe this would enhance adviser oversight), as well as a law that would let crowdfunding victims file class action securities lawsuits. Crowdfunding involves using the Internet to sell securities in small batches to nonaccredited investors.

NASAA is hoping that the significant turnover that occurred in both the House and the Senate will give the organization a chance to generate new support.

NASAA
State and provincial securities regulators belong to this group. NASAA has protected investors on Main Street from fraud for about a century. It is the longest running international investor protection group.

More About the FINRA Panel’s Ruling on the Charles Schwab Case
FINRA itself has said that it will appeal this ruling, which lets Charles Schwab make customers waive their right to participate in these types of lawsuits. The panel found that while Schwab’s actions do violate FINRA rules, the SRO’s rules actually violate the National Arbitration Act. A spokesperson for Schwab has said that the financial firm will now likely seek to get the pending class action securities cases against it thrown out. Meantime, FINRA has 45 days to appeal the panel decision before the National Adjudicatory Council.

Investment Adviser Fraud
If you think you may have sustained financial losses because of investment adviser fraud, contact The Resolution Law Group P.C. securities fraud law firm right away and ask for your free case evaluation. You may be able to recoup your losses. At The Resolution Law Group, we represent clients both in arbitration and before the courts. We are dedicated to helping investors recover what they are owed.  For further information, Call us at (203) 542-7275 for a confidential, no obligation consultation.

Lender Litigation, Unlawful Foreclosure, Tarp Money, Mortgage Backed Securities, Derivitives Lawsuits, Insider Trading Lawsuit, SEC Settlements, Ponzi Scheme Lawsuits, Intentional Misrepresentation, Securitized Mortgage, Class Action Securities Lawsuit, Robo-Signing Lawsuit, Lost Equity Litigation, Mortgage Lender Fraud, FINRA Fraud Lawsuit, Suing Banks, Fraudulent Misrepresentation, Short Sale Fraud, Fraudulent Business Practices, Mortgage Litigation, Complex Tort Litigation, Injunctive Relief, MERS Fraud

Two Oppenheimer Investment Advisers Settle for Over $2.8M SEC Fraud Charges Over Private Equity Fund

The SEC is charging Oppenheimer Alternative Investment Management and Oppenheimer Asset Management, which are two Oppenheimer & Co. investment advisers, with misleading customers about the valuation policies and performance of a private equity fund under their management. To settle the allegations, Oppenheimer will pay over $2.8M. It has also resolved the related action that was filed by Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley.

According to the SEC, from 10/09 to 6/10, the two Oppenheimer investment advisers put out marketing collaterals and quarterly reports that were misleading and claimed that Oppenheimer Global Resource Private Equity Fund I L.P.’s holdings in private equity funds had values that were determined according to the estimated values of the underlying manager. In truth, contends the regulator, Oppenheimer’s portfolio manager actually valued the largest investment of the fund, Cartesian Investors-A LLC, at a markup that was considerable to the underlying manager’s estimated value. This discrepancy made it appear as if the fund’s performance was much better, per its internal rate of return. For example, at the conclusion of the quarter ending on June 30, 2009, the markup of the investment upped the internal return rate from 3.8% to 38.3%

Among the alleged misrepresentations made by ex-OAM employees to potential investors were:

· The rise in Cartesian’s value was because of a rise in its performance, when, actually, it was because of the new valuation method implemented by the portfolio manager.

· The false claim that a third-party valuation firm had written up Cartesian’s value.

· The false claim that independent third-party auditors had audited OGR’s underlying funds when actually Cartesian had not been audited.

Also, per the SEC, the policies and procedures of OAM were not reasonably structured to make sure that valuations given to existing and prospective clients were put forth in a way that was in line with written representations made to potential clients and actual investors. The Commission says that OAM’s conduct violated sections of the Securities Act of 1933, the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, and Rules 206(4)-8 and 206(4)-7.

Regarding the settlement with the state, the penalty there is $132,421. As for the over $2.8M to the SEC, $200,000 will go to the pension fund of the city of Quincy and $150,000 will go to the pension fund of the city of Brockton. Oppenheimer is also going to modify its internal controls and valuation policies.

If you think you may have suffered losses because your financial representative made misrepresentations and omissions that influenced or decision to make an investment, contact The Resolution Law Group today. Your first securities case assessment is free.

Lender Litigation, Unlawful Foreclosure, Tarp Money, Mortgage Backed Securities, Derivitives Lawsuits, Insider Trading Lawsuit, SEC Settlements, Ponzi Scheme Lawsuits, Intentional Misrepresentation, Securitized Mortgage, Class Action Securities Lawsuit, Robo-Signing Lawsuit, Lost Equity Litigation, Mortgage Lender Fraud, FINRA Fraud Lawsuit, Suing Banks, Fraudulent Misrepresentation, Short Sale Fraud, Fraudulent Business Practices, Mortgage Litigation, Complex Tort Litigation, Injunctive Relief, MERS Fraud