Securities Industry Commentator by Bill Singer Esq

July 31, 2020

Two Men Indicted For Conspiracy, Bank Fraud, And Aggravated Identity Theft (DOJ Release)

( Blog)
Veteran Wall Street lawyer Bill Singer, the publisher of the Blog and the Securities Industry Commentator Feed, urges all FINRA Small Firm Executive Representatives to cast their 2020 FINRA Small Firm Governor proxy for Stephen A. Kohn. In order to ensure that the FINRA Small Firm community's voice is heard, your firm's proxy for Stephen Kohn's re-election must be cast by your firm's Executive Representative no later than next week.
As set forth in the CFTC Release:

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission's Market Risk Advisory Committee (MRAC) approved recommendations regarding the scheduled October 2020 transition of discounting and price alignment interest for certain products to the secured overnight financing rate (SOFR), otherwise known as the "Single-Step Transition," at its July 21, 2020 public meeting.  Commissioner Rostin Behnam is the sponsor of MRAC. 

The recommendations, in the MRAC Interest Rate Benchmark Reform Subcommittee's report on its June 2, 2020 table top exercise on the transition, aim to provide next steps that market participants can take to better improve education, risk management, and internal preparedness with respect to the transition, as well as points of consideration for market regulators. The recommendations represent another important step in the MRAC's multi-year effort to support the work of the Federal Reserve Board and New York Fed's Alternative Reference Rates Committee by identifying and resolving transition issues within the derivatives market.    

"As benchmark reform efforts continue moving forward around the globe, the MRAC's Interest Rate Benchmark Reform Subcommittee also continues to provide the Commission and market participants with timely recommendations to consider in support of a smooth transition away from LIBOR. The recently held table top exercise, conducted through the MRAC in June 2020, yielded additional recommendations that will further support the critical discounting and price alignment interest transition to SOFR at CME Clearing and LCH Limited later this year,said Commissioner Behnam.

The recommendations are the subcommittee's second set of recommendations in connection with the transition of U.S. dollar derivatives and related contracts away from LIBOR. The recommendations will be submitted to the Commission for consideration.
In a Complaint filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, the SEC alleged that Victor Lee Farias and his company Integrity Aviation & leasing ("IAL") violated the antifraud and securities registration provisions of the federal securities laws. As alleged in part in the SEC Release, Fairas and IAL:

raised $14 million from investors, promising that they would use the funds to purchase engines and other aircraft parts for leasing to major airlines. As alleged, Farias and IAL falsely touted Farias's supposed investment experience and IAL's purported competitive advantages, such as an algorithm that supposedly identified profitable leasing opportunities, and represented that all investments would be secured by IAL's assets. According to the complaint, many of the investors were retirees who, in order to invest their retirement funds, had to withdraw the funds from their retirement accounts and deposit them in newly created self-directed IRA accounts. The complaint alleges that IAL never purchased any engines and spent only a small portion of investor funds on aircraft parts. Farias and IAL allegedly diverted more than $11.6 million for unauthorized purposes, such as making $6.5 million in Ponzi-like payments to investors and investing $2.7 million to fund a friend's business. Farias also allegedly misappropriated $2.4 million for personal expenses. According to the complaint, Farias continued to mislead investors after he learned of the SEC's investigation, including by using the letterhead from the SEC's investigative subpoena as "proof" for investors that he was working with the SEC to take IAL public.
In an Indictment filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida, Isaleb Anofils and Donyell Garland were charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud, 13 counts of bank fraud, and 1 count of aggravated identity theft. In part the DOJ Release alleges that:

[A]nofils and Garland conspired to defraud federally insured financial institutions between January 1, 2018, and April 9, 2018. Specifically, the indictment alleges that the two men used a combination of cell phone apps and various internet websites to obtain personally identifiable information on nine individuals. Anofils and Garland then allegedly used that information to make fraudulent cash withdrawals from ATMs at their victims' financial institutions. In total, it is alleged that Anofils and Garland fraudulently obtained or attempted to obtain approximately $151,000 in funds to which they were not entitled.

In a FINRA Arbitration Statement of Claim filed in March 2020, public customer Claimant Miz asserted that Respondent Wojnowski had "failed to timely advise him that the sale of electoCore, Inc. stock needed to be executed by another brokerage firm and, as a result, Claimant lost the opportunity to sell the stock at the price that he sought." Claimant sought "$12,905.62, representing lost opportunity costs and lost tax savings." Respondent generally denied the allegations and asserted various affirmative defenses. The sole FINRA Arbitrator found Respondent liable and ordered him to pay to Claimant $5,000.00 in damages and $425 in FINRA filing fees.
In reading CNBC's Newburger's report, two things came to mind:

First, when will the plagues begin and we will be hit by water turning to blood, frogs, lice, flies, livestock pestilence, boils, hail, locusts, darkness and the killing of firstborn children. A musical number from Disney about the biblical plagues? Really?? Does anyone else find this a tad creepy?

Second, the sooner NASA's "Perseverance" gets to Mars, the sooner we can begin the serious work of gettin' the hell off of Earth and relocating to Mars, where we can start the whole process over and, who knows, in a few millennia, we can spread a new strain of COVID all over the human colony, unleash global warming and floods on the planet, and return to the more welcoming confines of a renewed Earth, where, of course, Keith Richards will still be alive and playing five of six strings on his Telecaster.