Securities Industry Commentator by Bill Singer Esq

December 3, 2018
This case is so stupid on so many levels that I don't even know where to begin. First, we got four idiots walking around with a suitcase filled with 7 keys of "fake" cocaine -- so, if you think about it, and I would urge you not to give it too much thought -- we got a suitcase filled with something like baby powder.  Second, these four geniuses with about 247 ounces of baby powder are trying to sell that as cocaine to someone they believed was a drug pusher. I mean, you know, didn't they see that scene in Scarface where they chained the guy in the shower while the bad (make that "badder") guy revved up the chain saw? Did you guys at least do a dry run trying to sell oregano to some kids as marijuana?  On top of that, they try to close the deal with an undercover DEA informant. In any event, Roger Mercedes pled guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud after he tried to sell 7 kilograms of fake cocaine. He was sentenced to 24 months in prison. It's gonna be a long stretch for Mercedes because the other inmates will have him pegged as the guy who tried to rip-off a drug dealer with fake coke, which is probably against the drug-dealer Code of Ethics - and making matters worse, he's doing two years time not for selling coke but for selling baby powder! Here's how the DOJ Release explained everything in part:

[M]ercedes met someone he believed was a cocaine trafficker and hatched a plan to sell that cocaine trafficker fake cocaine for $137,500.  The cocaine trafficker turned out to be an informant working for the Drug Enforcement Administration ("DEA").  Mercedes met the informant in Florida and, over the course of the next several months, sold the informant a "sample" of cocaine in New Jersey.  As part of the negotiations surrounding a large cocaine transaction to take place in Delaware, Mercedes sent the informant a homemade video of what appeared to be twenty (20) kilogram bricks of cocaine in an apartment. 

Mercedes organized the entire transaction and conspired with three other men to drive down to Delaware and sell the fake cocaine.  On November 9, 2017, Mercedes and the three other men were arrested in Newark, Delaware.  A suitcase containing seven (7) fake kilogram bricks of cocaine was seized.
Under consideration today is a troubling FINRA regulatory settlement involving two deceased customers, their stockbroker, and a whole host of developments involving powers of attorney, beneficiary designations, and trusts. As is sometimes the case with these eye-opening matters, we are left to ponder why the customers were so generous towards their stockbroker; and, at the same time, we are left uneasy as to why the stockbrokers engaged in the alleged subterfuge. In the end, there are far too many unanswered questions by FINRA -- for which publisher Bill Singer takes the self-regulatory-organization to task.
A jury in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida found real estate broker Geo Geovanni guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and three counts of bank fraud. Between May and August 2008, Geovanni sold condominium units to buyers at The Landing, in Altamonte Springs, Florida, and he concealed the sales incentives he provided to buyers from mortgage lenders; e.g., buyers' down payments and kickbacks paid after closing. As a result of such non-disclosures to the lenders, JP Morgan Chase Bank and Wells Fargo Bank purportedly sustained about $761,150 in loses when the mortgages went into foreclosure.
SEC Rule 139 provided a safe harbor for the publication or distribution of research reports concerning one or more issuers by a broker or dealer participating in a registered offering of one of the covered issuers' securities; however, that safe harbor was not available for a broker-dealer's publication or distribution of research reports pertaining to specific registered investment companies or business development companies.  In furtherance of the Fair Access to Investment Research Act of 2017, the SEC adopted new Rule 139b, which will generally extend the current Rule 139 safe harbor to broker-dealers' publication or distribution of covered investment funds; and, accordingly, the SEC expects that the new rule and conforming amendments will promote research on mutual funds, exchange‑traded funds, registered closed-end funds, business development companies, and similar covered investment funds,READ the Rule
The "BOGUS" link provided provided below is INDEED bogus
and should not be confused with the bona fide TSSB Cease-and-Desist Order.

On January 4, 2018, TSSB issued an Emergency Cease and Desist Order against BitConnect That Order does not provide for restitution to BitConnect investors; however, a BOGUS "Bitconnect update" Notice spoofs TSSB's webpage and falsely offers to refund 35% of a "participant's investment" in BitConnect after an investor sends a $250 "consent fee." The unknown entity that set up the false webpage is engaging in an "advance fee" fraud. For additional information, please contact Enforcement Division at

Storing and Securing Cryptocurrencies (FINRA "The Alert Investor")
A concise, brief article that touches on the basic issues of public and private crytpocurrency keys, and their role in storing and transferring your digital assets. An interesting discussion about online wallets and cryptocurrency exchanges.