Securities Industry Commentator by Bill Singer Esq

May 17, 2018

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(SEC Litigation Release No. 24142)
In a Complaint filed in the United States District Court for the Central District of California, the SEC alleged that William M. Jordan had fraudulently raised over $71 million from about 100 advisory client through a scheme involving overstating the value of the assets in several of his 16 private investment funds. Jordan settled the action by consenting to the entry of a permanent injunction without admitting or denying the allegations of the complaint. READ the FULL TEXT SEC Complaint

SEC Charges Owner of Alternative Investment Firm in Belize Airport Financing Scam (SEC Press Release 2018-89)
In a Complaint filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, the SEC alleged that between 2014 and 2017, Brent Borland sold over $21 million of promissory notes to dozens of investors, promising that the funds would be used as bridge financing for development of an international airport in Placencia, Belize, and that the investments would be protected by pledges of real estate as collateral.  The notes were sold through Borland Capital Group LLC, which purports to be active in "alternative investment," and Belize Infrastructure Fund I, LLC, which purports to be in the business of construction finance. The Complaint alleges that Borland diverted $6 million of the investors' funds for personal, non-business expenses such as mortgage and property tax payments on his family's Florida mansion, multiple luxury automobiles, private school tuition for his children, $36,000 for his family's beach club membership, and almost $2.7 million to pay off credit cards.
Borland's wife, Alana LaTorra Borland, and a corporation controlled by Borland and his wife, Canyon Acquisitions, LLC are named as relief defendants. In a parallel action, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York announced criminal charges against Borland.
READ the FULL TEXT SEC Complaint

SEC Charges Brokerage Firms and AML Officer With Anti-Money Laundering Violations (SEC Press Release 2018-87)
The SEC settled charges against broker-dealers Chardan Capital Markets LLC and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Financial Services LLC (ICBCFS) for failing to report suspicious sales of billions of penny stock shares.From October 2013 to June 2014, Chardan, an introducing broker, allegedly liquidated over 12.5 billion penny stock shares for seven of its customers and ICBCFS cleared the transactions.  The SEC alleged that Chardan failed to file any SARs notwithstanding red flags, and that ICBCFS similarly failed to file any SARs despite ultimately prohibiting trading in penny stocks by some of the seven customers. The SEC's orders found that Chardan and ICBCFS violated the Exchange Act and an SEC financial recordkeeping and reporting rule and that Chardan's anti-money laundering (AML) officer, Jerard Basmagy, aided and abetted and caused the firm's violations. Also, ICBCFS was found to have failed to produce documents promptly to SEC staff.  Without admitting or denying the SEC's findings, the parties agreed to settlements requiring Chardan to pay a $1 million penalty, ICBCFS to pay $860,000, and Basmagy to pay $15,000.  Both firms consented to censures and, along with Basmagy, to cease and desist from similar violations in the future.  Basmagy also agreed to industry and penny stock bars for a minimum of three years. READ the FULL TEXT SEC ORDERS Chardan; ICBCFS; and Basmagy

The Disqualified Stalking Felon Stockbroker, The Texting Stockbroker, The Missouri Waltz, And FINRA ( Blog)
A statutorily disqualified individual sells her book of business and it is assigned to a duly registered stockbroker. So far, so good. The stockbroker's firm tells him it's okay to communicate with the disqualified broker in order to arrange for the smooth and orderly transfer of clients but, beyond that handing off of her biz to you, you draw a thick, red line and don't cross it. She's disqualified. You're not. You don't discuss any private customer information with her. So . . .  what could possibly go wrong with that scenario?

Investment Advisor Sentenced to More Than 5 Years in Prison for Misappropriating $6.5 Million in Client Funds (DOJ Press Release)
HCM Assett Management LLC investment advisor owner Henry Meyer pled guilty to one count of mail fraud and was sentenced in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to 69 months in prison and ordered to pay $6.5 million in restitution. Meyer fraudulently solicited investors (who were mostly family members and friends, some of whom were elderly) for a non-existent "European Derivative Investment Program" promising returns as high as 600%. Meyer diverted funds to pay personal expenses, including rent, utilities, restaurants, trips, and car payments.  

Former Bank Branch Manager Charged In $5 Million Fraud Involving Two New York Area Banks (DOJ Press Release)
Former bank branch manager Moshe Benenfeld a/k/a "Michael Benenfeld" was charged in a criminal Complaint in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York with one count of bank fraud involving hundreds of unauthorized transactions at two different banks. As a result of the Benenfeld's alleged unauthorized transactions, one of the banks purportedly sustained in excess of $5 million in losses. READ the FULL TEXT Criminal Complaint