Paul Mata and David Kayatta, operators of Logos Wealth Management, were barred from the securities industry by the SEC. According to the SEC, Mata and Kayatta raised more than $14 million from investors based upon false promises of guaranteed returns.
The Securities and Exchange Commission filed a complaint against former Philadelphia Eagle, Merrill Robertson, Jr., and his partner Sherman Vaughn. The SEC believes that Robertson and Vaughn defrauded investors out of $6 million. Robertson and Vaughn were able to raise $10 million from investors based upon false promises of a 20% return. The money was not used for legitimate investment purposes. Instead, investor funds were used to pay personal expenses and to make payments to earlier investors.
The Securities and Exchange Commission has ordered Lee Weiss and his brokerage firm, Family Endowment Partners, LLC, to refund $8.4 million to defrauded investors. Additionally, the SEC fined Mr. Weiss $1.5 million and barred him from the securities industry. The SEC believes that Mr. Weiss had clients invest $40 million over a two year period in a stock named Biosyntec. Weiss received over $600,000 in compensation directly from the company. The SEC also alleges that Weiss failed to disclose the risks of the investment to his clients and the fact that the company was failing to meet its ongoing financial obligations.
William Marshall Dratel and his firm, The Dratel Group, Inc., were both expelled from the securities industry by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) also imposed sanctions on the firm for allegedly engaging in a trading scheme in which Dratel picked profitable day trades for his own account and designated the non-profitable trades for his customers' accounts. Through his scheme, Dratel's clients lost more than $200,000 in their discretionary accounts and Dratel profited about $489,000. FINRA is requiring Dratel to disgorge all profits from the scheme.
Washington, D.C. based financial advisor and radio talk show host, Dawn Bennett, and her firm, Bennett Financial Group, have been barred by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The SEC announced their charges of fraud against Bennett in September 2015. Leading up to these charges, Bennett has been the subject of multiple client complaints. Early this year, Bennett failed to appear and testify at the SEC hearing.
Louis Martin Blazer, III, a financial advisor from Pittsburgh, was charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for allegedly creating a Ponzi scheme. The SEC believes Blazer defrauded his pro athlete clients by taking about $2.35 million out of their accounts, without their authorization, and invested it into two films he was producing. One of Blazer's clients noticed that Blazer had taken $500,000 from his account for the films. When the client told Blazer he was going to file a lawsuit, Blazer said he would return the money. The SEC believes that he was able to make the repayment by using money misappropriated from another client's account.
Alternative fund manager Equinox Fund Management, LLC recently settled charges with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The SEC alleged that Equinox misrepresented and misled investors about a specific fund named The Frontier Fund (TFF). The SEC alleged that Equinox misrepresented the amount of management fees it charged. As a result of the SEC allegations, Equinox agreed to refund its investors about $5.4 million plus $600,000 in prejudgment interest. The SEC has also imposed a $400,000 fine.
The former president of Coastal Investment Advisors Inc., Michael Donnelly, admitted to defrauding his clients. Donnelly swindled almost $2 million from 13 clients, many of whom were over the age of 65. According to the SEC, Donnelly misappropriated money provided to him by his clients for investment and used it to pay personal expenses. Donnelly was able to perpetuate his scheme by providing false account statements and trade confirmations to the clients. Donnelley's settlement of the SEC's charges requires him to pay $1.9 million in disgorgement and interest of $365,723.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) fined UBS Wealth Management for claims related to the offer and sale of the Puerto Rico bond fund. The SEC's fine totaled $15 million. The money will go into a fund for the damaged investors. The FINRA fine totaled $18.5 million, and $11 million of the fine will be paid as restitution to 165 customers.
Senator Jack Reed, D-R.I., has introduced a new bill in response to the Supreme Court's decision in Gabelli v. SEC. The bill proposes that the statute of limitations applicable to Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) enforcement actions be lengthened from five years to ten years. In Gabelli v. SEC, the financial advisor avoided liability because the SEC did not file a case in a timely matter. Sen. Reed wants to extend the statute of limitations to help protect investors and to provide regulators, such as the SEC, with the adequate resources to fight investment fraud.