Securities Industry Commentator by Bill Singer Esq

June 27, 2018

BREAKING NEWS: Mark Janus, Petitioner, v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council  (Opinion, Supreme Court, No. 16-1466, U. S. ____ (2018))
ALITO, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which ROBERTS, C. J., and KENNEDY, THOMAS, and, GORSUCH, JJ., joined. SOTOMAYOR, J., filed a dissenting opinion. KAGAN, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which GINSBURG, BREYER, and SOTOMAYOR, JJ., joined.
Listen to the Oral Argument
READ the Transcript of the Oral Argument
As set forth in the preamble to the Majority's Opinion:

Under Illinois law, public employees are forced to subsidize a union, even if they choose not to join and strongly object to the positions the union takes in collective bargaining and related activities. We conclude that this arrangement violates the free speech rights of nonmembers by compelling them to subsidize private speech on matters of substantial public concern. 

We upheld a similar law in Abood v. Detroit Bd. of Ed., 431 U. S. 209 (1977), and we recognize the importance of following precedent unless there are strong reasons for not doing so. But there are very strong reasons in this case. Fundamental free speech rights are at stake. Abood  was poorly reasoned. It has led to practical problems and abuse. It is inconsistent with other First Amendment cases and has been undermined by more recent decisions. Developments since Abood  was handed down have shed new light on the issue of agency fees, and no reliance interests on the part of public-sector unions are sufficient to justify the perpetuation of the free speech violations that Abood has countenanced for the past 41 years. Abood  is therefore overruled.

As set forth in part in the Dissent:

Rarely if ever has the Court overruled a decision-let alone one of this import-with so little regard for the usual principles of stare decisis. There are no special justifications for reversing Abood. It has proved workable. No recent developments have eroded its underpinnings. And it is deeply entrenched, in both the law and the real world. More than 20 States have statutory schemes built on the decision. Those laws underpin thousands of ongoing contracts involving millions of employees. Reliance interests do not come any stronger than those surrounding Abood. And likewise, judicial disruption does not get any greater than what the Court does today. . .

Former State Street Executive Convicted in Scheme to Defraud Clients Through Secret Trading Commissions (DOJ Press Release)
Former State Street Corporation executive vice president, global head of its Portfolio Solutions Group, and President of its U.S. broker-dealer unit Ross McLellan was convicted in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts on one count of conspiring to commit securities fraud and wire fraud, two counts of securities fraud and two counts of wire fraud in connection with his role in a scheme to defraud at least six of the bank's clients through secret commissions applied to billions of dollars of securities trades
Sebastian Pinto-Thomaz, Abell Oujaddou, and Jeremy Millul were arrested pursuant to a criminal Complaint filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York alleging insider trading. Defendant Pinto-Thommaz was a credit rating analyst assigned to work on a Rating Evaluation Service for Sherwin-Williams Company. That assignment gave Pinto-Thomaz access to inside information about Sherwin-Williams acquisition of Valspar. The Complaint alleges that Pinto-Thomaz passed inside information about the acquisition to Oujaddou, a hairstylist and salon owner, and Millul, a jeweler -- both defendants allegedly had close relationships with Pinto-Thomaz. Allegedly, Oujaddou sold his Valspar shares for approximately $192,080 in profits; and Millul sold his for about $106,806 in profits.  The Complaint charges the three defendants each with one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and one count of securities fraud. In response to warrants, the government seized $100,000 from a bank account belonging to Millul, and over 25,000 shares of BlackBerry stock from brokerage accounts belonging to Oujaddou. In a separate action, the SEC filed civil charges against all three individuals.
READ the FULL TEXT Criminal Complaint
READ the FULL TEXT SEC Complaint
Here we go again. Marital bliss ain't all it's cracked up to be. Add one elderly wife. Add one part husband. Add two parts brokerage account for the benefit of the kids. Shake. Remove cash from the account. Pour into one big regulatory glass and garnish with a compliance nightmare.

SEC Obtains Final Judgment Against Attorney in Scheme to Manipulate Stock of Sports Ticket Broker (SEC Litigation Release No. 24175)
The United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts entered final judgment against former law partner Richard Weed for his role in defrauding investors in CitySide Tickets Inc. via false opinion letters that he authored as part of a "pump and dump" scheme In a parallel criminal case, Weed was sentenced to 4 years in prison and 3 years of supervised release and ordered to pay a fine of $100,000 and to forfeit $90,000. In the SEC case, the judgment imposes a permanent injunction against future violations of the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws, a penalty of $150,000, and permanently bars Weed from serving as an officer or director of a public company and from participating in penny stock offerings. 

SEC Charges Texas Businessman in Multi-Million Dollar Ponzi Scheme (SEC Litigation Release No. 24175)
In a Complaint filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, the SEC alleges that purported securities-fraud-recidivist James VanBlaricum was the driving force behind Texas Energy Mutual, LLC (f/k/a Texas Energy Management) and had enlisted Rodney Pope and Chet Inglis to serve as the face of the company. The Complaint further alleges that Robert Gilliam, Matthew Leaverton, William Hill, and Erik Rhodes solicited investors from whom over $10 million was raised pursuant to guarantees of investment returns and assurances that funds would be used to drill oil wells. The Complaint alleges that defendants used investor money for a variety of personal expenditures, including luxury international vacations and wedding expenses, and for Ponzi-like payments to investors. Defendants VanBlaricum, Pope, Inglis, Gilliam, Hill, and Rhodes each agreed to be permanently enjoined from violating securities laws. VanBlaricum, Pope, and Inglis consented to officer and director bars. Rhodes agreed to disgorge $33,000. Separately, VanBlaricum, Pope, Inglis, Leaverton, and Gilliam were charged in a parallel criminal case and have each pleaded guilty and were sentenced to federal prison terms ranging from 30-84 months, and ordered to pay between $1.8 million and $32 million in restitution. READ the FULL TEXT SEC COMPLAINT.