Archive for the ‘Massachusetts’ Category

Massachusetts Case Against Investment Adviser All Too Familiar

Tuesday, September 16th, 2008

William Galvin, Massachusetts’s Secretary of State has charged Stephen Francis Clifford and his business - Clifford Financial Associates (”CFA”) - with defrauding his investment advisory clients out of almost $3 million.  Clifford was arrested in a Massachusetts casino on charges of aggravated rape and kidnapping arising from his relationship with the 18-year-old daughter of his girlfriend.  While those details of Clifford’s story might seem especially salacious, it would be a mistake to consider Clifford an aberration in the investment advisory community. (more…)

SEC Halts Alleged Ponzi Scheme in Western New York

Wednesday, July 9th, 2008

The SEC has once again halted an ongoing Ponzi scheme.  Last week, the SEC obtained a preliminary injunction against Watermark Financial Services Group, Inc. (”Watermark Financial”), Watermark M-One Holdings, Inc. (”Watermark Holdings”), M-One Financial Services, LLC (”M-One”), Watermark Capital Group, LLC (”Watermark Capital”), Guy W. Gane, Jr., and Lorenzo Altadonna.  The Commission’s complaint alleges, in part: (more…)

SEC Stops Unregistered Investment Adviser

Monday, June 30th, 2008

Doing what it does best, the Securities and Exchange Commission has obtained emergency relief shutting down an unregistered investment adviser in Massachusetts.  The SEC claims that Stephen F. Clifford and his business - Clifford Financial Advisors (CFA) - defrauded eight elderly clients out of roughly $3 million by: (more…)

SEC Accuses Money Manager of Misappropriating from Elderly Clients

Saturday, May 31st, 2008

Stephen Hochberg of Sudbury, Massachusetts was an accountant-turned-money manager.  According to the SEC, he told his elderly clients that he was buying them shares in a real estate investment fund and, instead, spent their money on his own lavish lifestyle.  Read more about this case at the SEC’s press release. 

Scams That Strike Investors Where They Are Most Vulnerable

Tuesday, November 27th, 2007

Are you active in a church, temple, or mosque?  Do you have any interests outside of work?  Do you trace your heritage to another country?  Few would answer “no” to all of these questions.  Answering “yes” to any of them makes you a target for affinity fraud.  NASAA, the North American Securities Administrators Association, puts affinity fraud at the top of its list of the top ten scams operating today. 

The SEC defines affinity fraud this way:  “Affinity fraud refers to investment scams that prey upon members of identifiable groups, such as religious or ethnic communities, the elderly, or professional groups. The fraudsters who promote affinity scams frequently are - or pretend to be - members of the group.” 

Christians bond around their shared faith in Jesus.  As hard as it is for the devout of any religion to comprehend, an affinity fraudster thinks no more of feigning belief in God (more…)

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