Archive for the ‘Sales Practice Abuses’ Category

SEC Charges Alleged Boiler-room Operation

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged Sky Capital LLC a/k/a Granta Capital LLC with using fraudulent boiler room tactics to raise more than $61 million from investors in two related companies — Sky Capital Holdings Ltd. and Sky Capital Enterprises, Inc. (the Sky Entities). The Commission also charged Sky Capital’s founder, former President and CEO, Ross Mandell, the firm’s former COO, Stephen Shea, and four registered representatives, Adam Harrington Ruckdeschel, Arn Wilson, Michael Passaro, and Robert Grabowski, for orchestrating and participating in the fraudulent scheme designed to fraudulently induce numerous individuals to invest in the Sky Entities.


Just What You Want to Hear

Monday, June 8th, 2009


The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has filed a civil injunctive action against Mark R. Hamlin and two companies he owned, Kingdom First Trading, LLC, and Kingdom First Corp, for fraudulently selling approximately $2 million in unregistered securities.


SEC’s Charges Against 10 Brokers a Good Start, But Only a Drop in the Ocean

Monday, June 1st, 2009

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has charged ten stockbrokers with fraud related to their sale of Collateralized Mortgage Obligations (CMOs) to retirees.  The brokers all worked for a now-defunct Irvine, California-based brokerage firm - Brookstreet Securities Corp. (Brookstreet).  According to the SEC, the brokers told their elderly clients that the CMOs were safe and suitable for investors in retirement.  Such is not the case. (more…)

A Timeless Story

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

Jessica Anderson of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance spoke to Ponzi victims, Peggy and Sam Niblett.  The Niblett’s told Anderson their story of being defrauded by Ulric Sweesy in an oil and gas scheme. Thousands of American investors have similar stories. (more…)

Lose the “Probably”

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

There is a news article published in UK’s Times Online, by Mr. Mike Harvey, discussing the rise in pyramid and Ponzi fraud schemes in Britain and the United States.  It is very well written, speaking about the internet advertisers and videos helping to make the sale.  According to the article, the scams are being “spurred by the power of the internet, consumer and business groups fear, with old-fashioned cons repackaged as marketing enterprises backed by advertisements on Google, videos on YouTube and enticing websites.”  It’s been dubbed a “fraud for the digital age.”  (more…)

Recidivist Accused of Shaking the Money Tree Again

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has filed an emergency enforcement action, including an asset freeze and appointment of a receiver, in connection with charges that William L. Gunlicks, of Naples, Florida, and his firm, Founding Partners Capital Management Company, defrauded investors by misrepresenting the nature and risks of $550 million in hedge fund investments. (more…)

At it Again

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed an emergency action against Benny L. Judah and his company, Excel Lease Fund, Inc.  According to the complaint, Judah allegedly raised approximately $40 million from hundreds of investors through a high yield debenture offering which is defined as a certificate of agreement of loans given under the company’s stamp.  Judah began the offer in January 2006 and told investors that their funds would be used to retire an earlier series of debentures and for certain other business purposes. (more…)

What About the Ponzi Salesmen?

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

Tens of thousands have asked the question over the past decade.  Tens of thousands will continue to ask the question in the decade to come.  Why didn’t the SEC sue the salesman who sold me that Ponzi scheme?  It is a legitimate question, and one that has a good - but perhaps not satisfying - answer. 

When the SEC learns of a Ponzi scheme, the first question they ask is whether the scheme is still operating.  If the answer is “Yes,” the SEC switches into emergency mode.  They work day and night to gather the evidence they need to shut the scheme down before it can lose more money and claim more victims.  To obtain an order shutting the scheme down, they must prove the likelihood of securities violations and that the scheme is currently operating.  The SEC will name the business and those at the top of the organization.  (more…)

Charged for Defrauding Clients and Banks

Thursday, December 11th, 2008

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged William J. “Boots” Del Biaggio III, a Silicon Valley capitalist, for allegedly engaging in two different schemes, and defrauding investors, banks, and private lenders out of $65 million.   According to the complaint, Del Biaggio used the money to fund his lavish lifestyle, buy an interest in a professional hockey team, satisfy gambling debts, and pay for his family’s luxury home.  (more…)

Honesty Is Not Everyone’s Policy

Tuesday, December 9th, 2008

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has charged Marc Dreier with raising at least $113 million from the sale of bogus promissory notes. According to the complaint, Dreier is the founder and managing partner of Dreier LLP. 

According to the complaint, since October 2008, Dreier allegedly sold fake promissory notes to three investors and a former client of Dreier LLP. (more…)