Securities Industry Commentator by Bill Singer Esq

September 3, 2018

Real Estate Developer Charged In Manhattan Federal Court For Operating Years-Long Real Estate Investment Scheme In And Around New York City (DOJ Press Release)
Real estate developer Michael D'Alessio was indicted in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York on wire fraud in connection with alleged defrauding of investors in luxury real estate development projects in Manhattan, the Hamptons, Westchester, and elsewhere. In soliciting investors, D'Alessio allegedly misrepresented that funds would be used only to develop the relevant properties and to cover related business expenses. Allegedly, D'Alessio misappropriated investor funds for his own use and benefit, including to pay off debts, and to fund significant gambling and other personal expenses.  READ the FULL TEXT Indictment

FINRA Arbitrators Admit FINRA SEC Regulatory Settlements In UBS Puerto Rico Case ( Blog)
In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico was devastated. Long before that natural disaster hit the island, a man-made storm of equally epic proportion made landfall and hammered the Commonwealth's economy. Over three years ago, Puerto Rican government officials conceded that the public debt was not repayable and the local economy was headed into a death spiral. As the crisis grew and mushroomed, Wall Street just didn't seem to care. It was an opportunity. There were commissions and fees yet to be made. All of which increased the industry's appetite for even riskier debt, which would get sold in tranches or bundled into mutual funds, and, as such, dumped on an unwary and foolish public. As we still sort through the mess in 2018, yet another lawsuit emanating from that era of unsustainable financing pits four public customers against UBS.

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In a Complaint filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky, the SEC alleged Scott Stacy Phelps and James Michael Harper raised about $611,000 through securities sales to nine investors by fraudulently representing that the proceeds would be used to drill for oil in Kentucky despite knowing that two wells drilled were not commercially viable. The Complaint alleges that Phelps and Harper spent the vast majority of the funds on themselves and their families, paying themselves generous six-figure salaries, and using the investor funds for rent, vacations, consumer goods, dating and adult websites, entertainment, golf, and hotels. READ FULL TEXT Complaint

Indiana Man Sentenced for Counterfeiting at Dayton Dragons Game (DOJ Release)
In 2014, Kenneth Stopkotte was convicted of bank larceny, money laundering and access device fraud in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee for stealing over $66,000 by taking donation checks out of the mailboxes of multiple churches. Stopkotte was sentenced to 26 months in prison. After serving his time, Stopkotte apparently had a bit too much time on his hands during his supervised release because he purchased over 200 counterfeit $20 bills on the "dark web."
In Arizona, Stopkotte used some of the fake $20s at a sporting event, and, afterwards, he attended a Dayton Dragons minor league baseball game, where he used 41 of the bogus 20s to make purchases, including his ticket, food and beverage.. As investigators approached him at the game, Stopkotte attempted to hide 54 other bills under a stadium refrigerator. Afterwards, it was discovered  that Stopkotte hid $166 in genuine currency in the sole of his shoe, and had additional genuine currency elsewhere in his clothing. Also, an additional 136 fake $20 bills were found hidden in the cover of a boat at his residence in Indiana. After pleading guilty, Stopkotte was sentenced in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio to 21 months in prison for using counterfeit money; and 9 additional months in prison, to be served consecutively, for violating his terms of previous supervised release. Also, Stopkotte will forfeit 231 fake $20 bills, an iPhone and the nearly $495 in cash he had in his possession at the time of his arrest.