Archive for June, 2008

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…)

Hugging the Bear

Friday, June 27th, 2008

In 2005, Neil Young had surgery to repair a brain aneurysm - a time bomb that never ticks and is almost always fatal.  Young’s doctor’s discovered the aneurysm when Young went in complaining of a spot on his eye that looked like a piece of broken glass.  Had he not had something (unrelated as it turns out) in his eye, he’d have likely died suddenly of the aneurysm.  It was the hassle of the other health problem that allowed him to find out that he was living with a much more dangerous situation.  The same could be true about your suffering stock portfolio.   (more…)

Scam Artists Thrive in Hard Times

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

Andrew Leckey of Tribune New Services has written an article calling attention to a phenomenon that Investor’s Watchblog has been warning investor’s about for that past twelve months - scam artists follow the headlines and craft sales pitches designed to take advantage of them. Read Leckey’s article for a good description of the types of scams that regulators have uncovered lately.

Searching for Israel

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

As we knew from the beginning, Samuel Israel is alive.  He tried to lead the world to believe that he had jumped off a bridge into the Hudson River - leaving his car on the bridge with the words “Suicide is Painless” written in the pollen and dirt on the hood.  Israel, who masterminded the $450 million Bayou Group hedge fund fraud, was scheduled to report to prison the day he abandoned his car.  His girlfriend has admitted to picking him up in the town of Bedford, New York, and helping him load his personal possessions into a recreational vehicle.   Stay tuned.

SEC Halts Alleged $21 Million Scam

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

The SEC has charged Robert Louis Carver, Robert Louis Carver, II, James Lowell Demers, and their companies - Lincoln Funds International, Inc., and Paropes Corporation f/k/a/ Brookstone Capital, Inc., with defrauding 400 investors of more than $21 million.  At the SEC’s request, a federal court in California has issued a temporary restraining order against the defendants and frozen their assets.  The SEC’s press release about the case reads, in part:  (more…)

WSJ Blasts SEC Chairman

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

In the wake of the Bear Stearns debacle, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson proposed eliminating the SEC.  The current Chairman of the SEC seemed to take it in stride.  Any other chairman would have defended an agency that has been successfully protecting investors and the integrity of our markets for 75 years.  Christopher Cox seemed willing to accept Paulson’s recommendations, took no decisive action on behalf of the agency, and  seemed to be no more interested in the outcome than a bored spectator who has wandered into a random courtroom in which the jury is about to render a verdict.  The SEC and the American people deserve better. (more…)

Indictments in Bear Stearns Hedge Fund Fiasco

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

Look out for stories today about indictments of Bear Stearns employees in connection with the two BS hedge funds that collapsed last year.  Investor’s Watchblog will follow the story and provide analysis once the indictments are made public.

Final Judgment in Under Armour Scam Case

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

The SEC has obtained a final judgment against Ronald K. Bowen.  Bowen told his brokerage clients that he had access to the stock of Under Armour, Inc. and could sell them that stock in connection with the company’s initial public offering.  He raised $230,000 from four investors.  Bowen actually had no stock to sell.  I’m reminded of the Dire Straits song Money for Nothing

Do you know whether your broker has ever been accused of misconduct or whether regulators have ever suspended him from the industry for a few days?  The stockbroker’s trade group - FINRA - cannot answer those questions for you.  Go to someone who can, or risk giving your broker money for nothing.

He’s Alive

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

It’s a fascinating story.  Samuel Israel III masterminded a $450 million hedge fund fraud.  He pled guilty and sentenced to 20 years in prison. On the day he was supposed to report to prison, police found his car on a bridge above the Hudson River with the words “Suicide is Painless” written in the pollen and dust on the hood of the car.  Authorities have yet to find a body in the river.

When they find him living in another country, remember that you heard it here first. 

Former A.G. Edwards Branch Manager Accused of Stealing from Alzheimer’s Patient

Monday, June 16th, 2008

The SEC has charged Frederick J. Barton, formerly a vice-president and branch manager of A.G. Edwards in Atlanta, with securities fraud.  The SEC’s complaint details a number of categories of alleged misconduct, the common denominator of which is Barton’s alleged misappropriation of other peoples’ money to fund his lavish lifestyle. (more…)