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Ponzi Scheme

Horizon Ponzi Scheme

August 30, 2021
The SEC has filed an emergency action to stop an alleged Ponzi scheme allegedly operated by John Woods of Marietta, Georgia, and his two companies: registered investment adviser Livingston Group Asset Management Company, d/b/a Southport Capital (Southport), and investment fund Horizon Private Equity, III LLC (Horizon). Shortly after the filing, a Georgia federal court granted a temporary restraining order and asset freeze, among other relief. The SEC’s complaint states that the defendants have raised over $110 million from 400-plus investors by selling Horizon membership interests.
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SEC Charges Blockchain

SEC Charges Blockchain Credit Partners

August 8, 2021
The SEC recently charged two Florida men and their Cayman Islands company, Blockchain Credit Partners, for unregistered sales of over $30 million of securities using so-called “decentralized finance” (DeFi) technology.  The SEC also charged them with making misrepresentations about their business, DeFi Money Market, to investors.    The SEC found in its Order that Gregory Keough, Derek Acree, and their company, Blockchain Credit Partners (BCP), made unregistered offerings and sales of securities through DeFi Money Market from February 2020 to February 2021. The SEC found that they sold two
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SEC Settles with UBS

SEC Settles With UBS Financial Services

July 24, 2021
The SEC recently settled against UBS Financial Services Inc. for compliance failures on sales of an exchange-traded product (ETP) that was tied to volatility. As the SEC’s order states, the ETP in question aimed to track short-term volatility sentiments in the market.  The order provides that the ETP issuer told UBS that the product should not be held for lengthy periods.  The order further states that the offering documents made clear that the product was more likely to lose value when held over a lengthy period.  The order finds that although UBS barred its stockbrokers from
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Neovest Securities Fraud

Neovest

July 11, 2021
The Securities and Exchange Commission recently announced that JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s subsidiary, Neovest Inc., an electronic trading platform provider that operates an order and execution management system (OEMS), has consented to a $2.75 million penalty for failing to register as a broker-dealer.   As set forth in the SEC’s order, Neovest operates an OEMS that enables customers to send trade orders to over 360 destination brokers for execution.  The SEC’s Order finds that even though Neovest terminated its broker-dealer registration after JPMorgan Chase acquired it, it continued to
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Income Collecting T-Bills

Income Collecting T-Bills

June 27, 2021
The SEC recently charged an offshore mutual fund and two individuals with securities fraud, and obtained an asset freeze to prevent dissipation of any remaining investor moneys. The SEC claims that Ofer Abarbanel of California and Victor Chilelli of Delaware and New York have defrauded investors over the past few years in their offshore mutual fund, the Income Collecting 1-3 Months T-Bills Mutual Fund.  The SEC alleges that Abarbanel told investors that the fund would mostly invest in U.S. Treasuries, including reverse repurchase agreements  collateralized by U.S. Treasury securities.  But
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SEC Charges Legacy

SEC Charges Legacy

June 6, 2021
The SEC recently charged Colorado and Florida residents Randy King, Matthew King, and Andrea Trout, and three companies they ran, The Legacy Group, Inc., Colorado Ventures I, LLC, and Radiant Holdings, LLC, with defrauding over 200 investors by selling them $29 million of unregistered securities. The SEC alleges that the defendants told investors they were seeking funds for real estate ventures, mostly in California and Colorado. The SEC claims that Legacy, the Kings, and Trout, however, used the funds on other ventures instead.  According to the SEC, they also misrepresented the risks of
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Whistleblower SEC

SEC Whistleblower Award - $22M

May 22, 2021
The SEC recently announced whistleblower awards totaling about $22 million.  The awards were made to two whistleblowers who gave critical information and help to the SEC with regard to successful enforcement actions brought against a financial services firm.  The first whistleblower received an $18 million award, and the second whistleblower received a $4 million award.  The larger award acknowledges that the first whistleblower was the original source of the investigation, while the second whistleblower provided help later on, after the investigation began.         Emily Pasquinelli
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Under Armour SEC Charges

Under Armour

May 9, 2021
The SEC recently charged Under Armour Inc., the well known sports apparel company, with misleading investors on revenue growth and failing to disclose known uncertainties affecting revenue forecasts. Under Armour has settled the charges, agreeing to pay a $9 million penalty. The SEC’s Order finds that, in the second half of 2015, Under Armour's internal revenue growth forecasts indicated that the company would miss analysts' revenue estimates.  The Order finds that, in response, for six consecutive quarters starting in the third quarter of 2015, Under Armour "pulled forward" $408 million in
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Franzone

Franzone

May 3, 2021
The SEC recently charged former race car team owner, Andrew Franzone, and his investment advisory firm, FF Fund Management, LLC (FFM), with defrauding investors of tens of millions of dollars relating to the sales of limited partnership interests in FF Fund I, LP (Fund).  The SEC alleges that Franzone misrepresented the Fund’s strategy and investments, didn’t disclose conflicts of interest, misappropriated Fund assets, and falsely stated that the Fund would be subject to periodic audits.  The SEC claims Franzone raised nearly $40 million by telling prospective investors that the Fund would
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United States

MintBroker Charged With Illegally Conducting Business in U.S.

April 7, 2021
The Securities and Exchange Commission recently charged a Bahamian brokerage firm, MintBroker International Ltd., f/k/a Swiss America Securities, Ltd. and d/b/a as SureTrader, with illegally conducting business as broker-dealer in the U.S. without being registered. The SEC also charged Guy Gentile, SureTrader's founder, owner, and CEO, with control-person violations. The SEC alleges that from March 2016 through November 2019, SureTrader operated an offshore brokerage firm that touted its ability to assist U.S. day traders to avoid pattern day-trading regulations
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unsuitable options strategies

We're Investigating Claims Related to Morgan Stanley Rep Barry Speyer

March 11, 2021
Morgan & Morgan’s securities attorneys are investigating investor claims relating to Morgan Stanley and its registered representative, Barry Martin Speyer. Speyer works in Morgan Stanley’s Beverly Hills office. He may have engaged in unsuitable options strategies that resulted in substantial investment losses.  According to FINRA’s BrokerCheck, Speyer previously has been the subject of multiple customer complaints, some of which resulted in monetary settlements and arbitration awards.  More recently, Speyer may have improperly used short leaps and other short options strategies that
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