SEC Charges Unlicensed Broker With Defrauding Investors (SEC Release)SEC Obtains Final Judgment Against Accountant in Market Manipulation Scheme (SEC Release)Makin' It Rain At The Strip Club -- FINRA Goes After Adult Entertainment Charges (BrokeAndBroker.com Blog)
[M]ilton founded Nikola in 2015 with the primary goal of manufacturing trucks that run on alternative fuels with low or zero emissions, and building an alternative fuel station infrastructure to support those vehicles. Milton allegedly helped Nikola raise more than $1 billion in private offerings and go public through a business combination conducted by a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). According to the SEC's complaint, during that time and after Nikola was publicly traded, Milton acted as Nikola's primary spokesperson appearing regularly on national media and communicating directly with investors through social media. Milton allegedly encouraged investors to follow him on social media to get "accurate information" about the company "faster than anywhere else." Instead, however, Milton allegedly used his extensive media platform to repeatedly mislead investors about, among other things, Nikola's technological advancements, products, in-house production capabilities, and commercial achievements. The complaint further alleges that Milton ultimately reaped tens of millions of dollars in personal benefits as a result of his misconduct.
[R]upp engaged in a fraudulent investment scheme from January 2018 through July 2019 which included misstatements, false documents and misappropriation of investor funds. According to the complaint, Rupp raised over $2.2 million from about 20 investors who lacked significant investment experience by misrepresenting that he was a licensed securities professional, he would generate profits for investors by trading on their behalf, and investors' principal was protected from losses. In addition, Rupp allegedly provided investors fake documents purporting to show he was associated with a licensed broker-dealer, and false account statements and trading data to make it appear that his trading on their behalf was generating as much as 115 percent increase in value.The complaint further alleges that, in reality, Rupp was not affiliated with any brokerage firm or licensed in the securities industry, his securities trading resulted in significant losses, and he misappropriated and misused hundreds of thousands of dollars of investor funds. Investors allegedly lost most of their money, including retirement funds, through Rupp's fraud.
[G]reenwald actively participated in a fraudulent market manipulation scheme in which co-defendants Joseph Taub and Elazar Shmalo utilized dozens of securities accounts at several brokerage firms to artificially influence the market prices of more than 2,500 exchange-traded securities. The complaint further alleged that Greenwald concealed from brokerage firms that Taub was trading in accounts that Greenwald opened in his own name and the names of entities that he set up, in exchange for a portion of the profits. In a parallel criminal action, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of New Jersey filed criminal charges against Greenwald. On February 20, 2018, Greenwald pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit tax fraud. Greenwald was sentenced on February 23, 2021 to probation for a term of three years, ordered to submit to home detention for a period of eight months, ordered to forfeit all right, title and interest in the contents of a specified bank account, and ordered to pay restitution to the Internal Revenue Service in the amount of $394,424.00.
The fraudsters behind broker imposter websites take the name and other publicly available professional details about a registered investment professional and use this information to establish a fraudulent website. The fraudsters then call and direct potential customers to the imposter websites. Their likely goal is to mimic a legitimate website to obtain existing or potential clients' personal information or login credentials.. . .Another type of broker imposter scheme involved an unregistered individual impersonating a registered investment professional to lure in potential investors. In this instance, the scammer created a fake version of a public FINRA BrokerCheck® report of a legitimate broker-picking an experienced broker with a spotless regulatory record.
[R]ecidivist Timothy Andrew Nemeckay, John Allen Logan, and Charles Vernon Whittington told investors that their funds would be used to develop the Mine Shaft Brewery, which included building a brewery, restaurant, and retail store. Investors were allegedly told that approximately 70% of invested funds would be used to acquire brewery and restaurant equipment and to purchase a building or make improvements to an existing building, with the remaining 30% of invested funds used for inventory and other Mine Shaft business expenses. Instead, as alleged, Nemeckay used his personal LLC as a pass through to pay his personal expenses, including restitution obligations to victims from his prior securities fraud scheme. The complaint alleges that in all, Nemeckay used approximately $1.7 million (63%) of investor funds for his own personal use. The complaint further alleges that, of the remaining investor funds, approximately 10% were used to make Ponzi payments to investors and 10% were used to compensate Whittington and Logan, with less than 17%, used consistently with disclosures to investors.
[K]uta effected at least 50 discretionary trades in numerous customer accounts. Although the customers knew that Kuta was exercising discretion in their accounts, Kuta did not have prior written authorization to do so from any of the customers. Additionally, Capitol Securities Management had not approved any of these accounts for discretionary trading.Therefore, Kuta violated NASD Rule 2510(b) and FINRA Rule 2010.
From July 14, 2011 through the present. CODA Markets provided its subscribers with direct market access (DMA) to multiple exchanges and unaffiliated ATSs through use of its market participant identifiers (MPIDs). During this time. CODA Markets' DMA business grew and became its largest revenue source. Nonetheless. CODA Markets failed to establish and maintain a supervisory system. including written supervisory procedures (WSPs), and regulatory risk management controls reasonably designed to monitor for potentially manipulative trading, such as potential layering. spoofing, wash trades, prearranged trades. marking the close, and odd-lot manipulation. During this time CODA Markets generated more than 350,000 exceptions and alerts at FINRA and multiple exchanges for potentially manipulative trading.During the relevant period, CODA Markets failed to develop and implement an anti-money laundering (AML) program reasonably designed to detect and cause the reporting of potentially suspicious transactions. In addition. during the periods specified below, the firm's AML testing and training were not reasonable.During the relevant period, CODA Markets also failed to establish, document, and maintain financial risk management controls and WSPs reasonably designed to prevent the entry of: (1) orders that exceed appropriate pre-set credit thresholds and (2) erroneous orders. In addition, CODA Markets failed to establish and maintain a supervisory system. including WSPs. reasonably designed to achieve compliance with the requirement under Rule 15c3-5(e) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to regularly review the effectiveness of its risk management controls. Finally. during the periods specified below. CODA Markets' supervisory control system reports failed to comply with NASD Rule 3012 and FINRA Rule 3120, and its certifications failed to comply with Exchange Act Rule 15c3-5(e)(2), FINRA Rule 3130, or both.CODA Markets' failures have resulted in potentially manipulative trading occurring through its MPIDs. potentially suspicious transactions not being reasonably detected and reported, and hundreds of millions of orders entering the markets without being subjected to reasonably designed risk management controls or reasonably designed post-trade supervisory reviews. Based on the conduct described in this AWC, CODA Markets violated Exchange Act §15(c)(3); Rule 15c3-5(b), (c)(l)(i). (c)(l)(ii). (c)(2), (e), (e)(l), and (e)(2) thereunder; FINRA Rules 3110, 3120, 3130, 3310. and 2010; and NASD Rules 3010 and 3012.