pay monetary awards to persons who voluntarily provide us with original information on a Form TCR about violations of the CEA or its rules, if that information leads to a successful CFTC enforcement action resulting in more than $1 million in monetary sanctions. The program also affords confidentiality and anti-retaliation protections.
Bill Singer's Comment: I have successfully represented and presently represent Whistleblowers. I welcome inquiries from those seeking to report industry misconduct and fraud, and am prepared to accept such clients or refer you to other legal professionals.
[B]etween October 2010 and October 2015, Argyropoulos operated Prima Ventures Corporation, a Santa Barbara-based financial services firm of which he was the president and sole shareholder. Argyropoulos represented to investors that he had access to "amazing" investment opportunities that would provide a high rate of return on any money invested, court papers state.Argyropoulos misrepresented to investors that he would pool their money to purchase pre-initial public offering shares of companies such as Facebook and Twitter, according to court documents. Argyropoulos also falsely told investors he had access to good investment opportunities in companies such as Alibaba, Etsy, and E-Waste, the plea agreement states. As he admitted, Argyropoulos also represented that he and Prima were licensed brokers, when in truth, neither he nor Prima was licensed by the Securities and Exchange Commission or any other regulatory authority to sell securities. Instead of purchasing the stocks, Argyropoulos diverted the investor funds for other uses, such as day-trading in stocks unrelated to the promised investments, and personal expenses, such as landscaping, utilities, and his legal expenses arising out of an investigation into his activities conducted by the SEC, the plea agreement states.Argyropoulos, who was charged in a 21-count federal grand jury indictment last year, admitted to causing at least $1,495,657 in uncompensated losses in connection with his schemes to defraud.Argyropoulos also admitted to willfully violating a January 2015 court order in a lawsuit brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which was based on the fraudulent Facebook and Twitter scheme. The injunction prohibited Argyropoulos from selling fraudulent investments and acting as an unlicensed broker.
On Thursday, May 30, 2019, Iglesias was taken into custody by Homeland Security Investigation as he attempted to board a JetBlue flight to New York's JFK International Airport. Iglesias is wanted in Rhode Island on charges stemming from a 2009 bank fraud conspiracy scheme. According to the complaint, on December 2, 2009 and December 3, 2009, Iglesias and his co-defendant entered Bank of America in Pawtucket, RI and cashed or attempted to cash fraudulent Bank of America cashier's checks. At Bank of America, Iglesias presented a fake United States passport in the name of "Abraham Reyes", with his photograph in it. Iglesias opened a checking account with Bank of America in the name of "Abraham Reyes", then cashed a fraudulent cashier's check in the amount of $65,000 against the account, using the fake passport as identification. Because the branch bank had insufficient funds on hand to honor the cashier's check, Bank of America gave Iglesias two cashier's checks in the amounts of $19,000 and $27,000, both of which Iglesias cashed and kept $19,000 for himself. On a third occasion, Iglesias attempted to cash another fraudulent cashier's check in the amount of $53,000, payable to "Abraham Reyes". Bank of America, upon discovering the check cashing scheme, reported the incidents to the authorities.According to court records, Iglesias was later interviewed by the Rhode Island State Police and admitted that on three occasions he cashed or attempted to cash fraudulent cashier's checks at three or four Bank of America branches. Iglesias also told the authorities that he had traveled to Rhode Island from New York to visit a friend who provided him with the fake passport, and offered him $20,000 - $30,000 as payment for cashing the fraudulent checks.
allegedly offered investments in a purported hedge fund called "Artis Proficio Capital," which he claimed had generated returns of as much as 56% in the prior year and for which investor funds were guaranteed up to $15,000. Arbab also allegedly sold "bond agreements" which promised investors the return of their money along with a fixed rate of return. The SEC's complaint alleges that at least eight college students, recent graduates, or their family members invested more than $269,000 in these investments.According to the SEC's complaint, no hedge fund existed, Arbab's claimed performance returns were fictitious, and he never invested the funds as represented. Instead, as money was raised, Arbab allegedly placed substantial portions of investor funds in his personal bank and brokerage accounts, which he used for his own benefit, including trips to Las Vegas, shopping, travel, and entertainment. Arbab also allegedly used portions of new investor money to pay earlier investors who had asked for their money back, the hallmark of a Ponzi scheme. Arbab even instructed some new investors to send their money - unwittingly - to existing investors through payment applications such as Venmo, Zelle, and Cash App, and misleadingly told them that the existing investors were either a "partner" or "manager" in the fund.
In September 2017, Constantine Gus Cristo sued Charles Schwab & Co., Inc., a FINRA member firm, and certain of its affiliates (collectively, "Schwab") in federal district court. Cristo alleged that Schwab violated federal law by releasing financial records to the Internal Revenue Service ("IRS") beyond those requested in an administrative summons. The court granted Schwab's motion to compel Cristo to arbitrate his claims before FINRA.Cristo requested that FINRA declare his claims ineligible for arbitration. But FINRA explained that its rules reserved that determination for an arbitration panel to make based on a developed record. Cristo also submitted a complaint about Schwab to FINRA's Investor Complaint Center. The complaint restated the allegations made in Cristo's federal lawsuit. FINRA investigated Cristo's complaint and closed the matter.Cristo then filed an application for review of FINRA's actions under Section 19(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Because Cristo does not challenge any action that we have jurisdiction to review under Section 19(d), we dismiss his appeal for lack of jurisdiction.
Between June 2015 and July 2018, Ile violated FINRA Rules 4511 and 2010 by mismarking 215 order tickets as unsolicited when the transactions were, in fact, solicited, thereby causing the firm's books and records to be inaccurate. During the same period, Ile violated FINRA Rules 2114 and 2010 by recommending 16 over-the-counter ("OTC") equity securities to customers without reviewing the current financial statements of the issuers. Finally, during the same period, Ile violated NASD Rule 251 O(b) and FINRA Rule 2010 exercising discretion without written authorization in 17 customer accounts.