SEC Publishes Recommendation on How Avoid Common Investment Scams in 2017

The Securities and Exchange Commission has published its annual list of tips designed to help investors with managing their money and avoiding common scams in the New Year.  Here is the list which is published by the SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy:

SEC INVESTOR BULLETIN: 10 INVESTMENT TIPS FOR 2017

12/27/2016

Whether you are a first-time investor or have been investing for years, here are 10 tips from the SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy to help you make better informed investment decisions and avoid common scams in 2017.

1. Always check the background of an investment professional—it is easy and free. You can find details of an investment professional’s background and qualifications through the search tool on the SEC’s website for individual investors, Investor.gov.  If you have any questions about checking the background of an investment professional, you can call our toll-free investor assistance line at (800) 732-0330 for help.

2. Promises of high returns with little or no risk are classic warning signs of fraud.  Every investment carries some degree of risk and the potential for greater returns often correlates with greater risk.  Ignore so-called “can’t miss” and “guaranteed risk-free” investment opportunities.  Better yet, report them to the SEC.

3. Be careful when using social media as an investment tool.  Social media and the Internet have become important tools for investors, but also present opportunities for fraudsters to lure investors into a wide range of scams.  For additional information on ways to avoid fraud through social media, please read our bulletin on Social Media and Investing.

4. It can be costly to ignore fees associated with buying, owning, and selling an investment product.  Expenses vary from product to product, and even small differences in costs can mean large differences in earnings over time.  An investment with high costs must perform better than a low-cost investment to generate the same returns.Read our bulletin on How Fees and Expenses Affect Your Investment Portfolio to learn more.

5. Be alert to affinity fraud.  Affinity frauds target members of identifiable groups, such as the elderly, religious or ethnic communities, or the military.  Even if you know the person making the investment offer, be sure to check out the investment and the person’s background—no matter how trustworthy the person seems.

6. Any offer or sale of securities must be either registered with the SEC or exempt from registration.  Otherwise, it is illegal.  Registration is important because it provides investors access to key information about the company’s management, products, services, and finances. Always check whether an offering is registered with the SEC by using the SEC’s EDGAR database or contacting the SEC’s toll-free investor assistance line at (800) 732-0330.

7. Diversification can help reduce the overall risk of an investment portfolio.  By picking the right mix of investments, you may be able to limit your losses and reduce the fluctuations of your investment returns without sacrificing too much in potential gains.  Some investors find that it is easier to achieve diversification through ownership of mutual funds or exchange-traded funds rather than through ownership of individual stocks or bonds.

8. Did you know that active trading and some other very common investing behaviors actually can undermine investment performance? According to researchers, other common investing mistakes include focusing on past performance, favoring investments from your own country, region, state, or company, and holding on to losing investments too long and selling winning investments too soon.

9. If you are investing or saving toward a goal, or just want to learn about how your money can grow under various hypothetical scenarios, take advantage of our compound interest and savings goal calculators.These calculators are great tools to help inform any decisions you make about your investing and saving.

10. Unbiased resources are available to help you make informed investing decisions. Whether checking the background of an investment professional, researching an investment, or learning about new products or scams, unbiased information can be a significant advantage for investing wisely.  A great starting point is Investor.gov.

If you have questions about your investments, your investment account or a financial professional, don’t hesitate to contact the SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy online or on our toll-free investor assistance line at (800) 732-0330.


The Office of Investor Education and Advocacy has provided this information as a service to investors.  It is neither a legal interpretation nor a statement of SEC policy.  If you have questions concerning the meaning or application of a particular law or rule, please consult with an attorney who specializes in securities law.

UPDATE: The Shocking Story of A Small Town Fraud

UPDATE: Yesterday United States District Judge David Sam rejected a plea deal that had been worked out between Thomas Andrews (the subject of the story below) and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.  According to a story in the Deseret News, Judge Sam rejected the plea deal because he believed it was too lenient.  Andrews withdrew his guilty plea and his attorney, Rebecca Skordas, told Judge David Sam that she would continue negotiations with prosecutors.

In rejecting the plea Judge Sam said he was very concerned about the statements he had received from victims, including one that said the financial loss reduced them to eating “eggs, pancakes and beans.” The judge said he couldn’t imagine someone taking advantage of their friends and neighbors “to just diminish them to point where they can’t hardly live day to day.”  “It’s absolutely unbelievable that someone would conduct themselves in that way,” Sam said.

Prosecutors had recommended that Andrews spend 48 to 60 months in prison after he agreed to plead guilty to securities fraud and mail fraud in June.  In rejecting that deal Judge Sam noted the sentence was below the federal guidelines, which was calculated as 78 to 97 months in prison.  Andrews’ accomplice Scott Christensen also pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a year and a day in prison.

Stay tuned for more details.


I typically write about lawsuits filed by the SEC, but this time I wanted to write about a civil case that was filed by a number of the victims of a Nephi man named Thomas E. Andrews.  The information in this story comes primarily from allegations that were made in a civil complaint by my friends over at Parr Brown, who filed their case in Juab County in November of 2015 (Civil Case No. 150600025).  I will be filing a separate lawsuit involving these same facts shortly as discussed at the bottom of this post.

NephiTom Andrews grew up in Juab County, Utah, and was known to most of the victims in the case since he was a small kid.  Most of the victims in this case are residents of Nephi, Utah and knew Andrews and his family through their community and their common membership in the LDS Church.

The victims are not sophisticated in financial matters, and so they had the utmost faith and confidence in Tom and his father, Earl Andrews, who was a respected CPA in the community.  Earl prepared tax returns for  the victims and assisted them with their financial matter for many years before he was sentenced to prison in approximately 2005 for an unrelated reason.  When his father went to prison Tom took over his father’s role as tax preparer for the victims and began preparing tax returns for them, although it turns out he was never licensed by the State of Utah to do so.

At about the same time he took over his father’s tax practice, Tom obtained his license to sell financial products and joined LPL Financial as a stock broker, and Gary York.  he then began to solicit investments from the people whose tax returns he was preparing.  Over time the victims began to rely on Tom for investment and retirement advice, as well as for their tax preparation.  They opened investment accounts with LPL through Tom Andrews and placed some or all of the their retirement funds into his hands.

But beginning in 2011 Tom Andrews began to make other plans for their money.

Andrews formed a fake trust named which he called the “Jackson Living Trust” and made himself as Trustee. Andrews then opened a bank account at Cyprus Credit Union under the name of the “Jackson” or the “The Jackson Living Trust.”  It is unclear what paperwork he presented to the credit union, but they nevertheless opened up an account for this fake trust and gave Tom the full signatory authority as the trustee.  This meant that he could cash or deposit checks that were made out to the “Jackson Trust.”

At about the same time, Tom began counseling his clients to invest in an annuity with Jackson National (which does actually exist).  He told them that this investment would pay a guaranteed rate of return between 5 percent and 8 percent annually.  Critically, he advised them to liquidate most or all of their investments held at LPL, or wherever else, and to put the money into this annuity.  This was terrible investment advice; it reduced their diversification and in some cases exposed them to early termination fees and/or tax penalties, but the victims trusted Tom and did what he advised.

Andrews provided real marketing materials from Jackson National Life and even used the company’s application forms.  The victims filled out the applications, and gave Andrews checks for their entire life savings made out to “Jackson Trust” which they believed would be invested in the Jackson National Life annuities.  But the money was never sent to Jackson National Life.

He deposited each of the checks into his fake account at the Cyprus Credit Union and then use the funds as he saw fit.  He basically stole the money.  How much money did he steal?  Over $9 million.

But the victims needed to continue to believe that their money was safe and secure in the annuity they thought they had purchased so Andrews generated fake quarterly statements for them.  He pulled a Jackson logo off the internet  and made up fake account statements that he mailed out to all of his clients. Of course the fake statements showed that their investment was safe and growing as Andrews had promised.

Discovery of the Fraud

In October of 2015, several of his clients became suspicious when they had a hard time withdrawing money from their accounts.  Several contacted Jackson National Life and learned that in fact they had no account with the firm, and the account statements they had received were fake.

Andrews apparently got wind of the problem and disappeared, but has now hired an attorney and is defending the case.  The location of the $9 million of investor money he took is unclear, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he used it to trade commodities, options, currencies or some other high-risk strategy thinking he could generate big returns and the investors would never know the difference.   Time will tell.

But if these allegations are true, there are several troubling aspects of this story.  First, unlike many of the stories I’ve written about, this one it appears to be a deliberate fraud from the outset.  Mr. Andrews set up the bank accounts and with a name that was deliberately similar to the name of a well-known annuity company.   He used marketing materials and account applications for a real investment, and his investors would not have known that their money was going into a personal bank account as opposed to a licensed, verifiable company.   Yes, he used church and family connections to gain their trust, but the investment itself appeared legitimate.

Another troubling aspect of this story is that there are a number of financial institutions who appear to have dropped the ball and did not implement oversight and compliance procedures that could have protected the interests of the victims in this case.  Banks, brokerage firms and others should be watching for red flags and alerting state and federal authorities when they see suspicious activity.  In this case that oversight never happened, and millions of dollars were lost as a result.

On February 12, 2106 FINRA barred Tom Andrews from associating with any brokerage firm in any capacity, and I suspect the SEC and/or DOJ will be filing cases against him soon.

The Juab County lawsuit  is currently pending.


Our firm has been retained by many of the victims in this case to pursue a case against Mr. Andrews’ brokerage firm, LPL Financial.  If you or someone you know was involved in this case in any way please contact me at 801-323-3380, or by email.   -Mark Pugsley

Copyright © 2016 by Mark W. Pugsley.  All rights reserved.

Another Utah Ponzi Scheme? The SEC’s lawsuit against Marquis Properties

Last month the Salt Lake Regional office of the US Securities and Exchange Commission filed a lawsuit and obtained an asset freeze against Marquis Properties, LLC, its CEO and President Chad R. Deucher, and the company’s Executive Vice President, Richard (“Rick”) Clatfelter.  In its complaint the SEC alleges that these men orchestrated a $28 million Ponzi scheme that defrauded more than 250 investors throughout the United States.  The complaint contains the following allegations:

  • That from March 2010, Marquis, through Deucher and Clatfelter, orchestrated a scheme to defraud unwitting investors by inducing them to invest in notes and investment contracts collateralized by real estate.
  • That Marquis represented that it would use investor funds to purchase real properties and that investors would receive guaranteed profits and return of principal upon sale of the properties. Marquis represented that investments were safe and low risk because the notes and investment contracts were 100% collateralized by valuable real property.
  • That Marquis failed to purchase properties with investor funds, however, and properties offered as collateral were often not owned by Marquis, were substantially encumbered, or were in uninhabitable or blighted condition.
  • That rather than using investor funds as represented, Marquis used investor funds to pay returns to earlier investors, in a classic Ponzi scheme. Marquis could not have paid returns to earlier investors without the influx of new investor money.
  • That Deucher caused Marquis to use investor funds to pay personal expenses of Deucher and directed Marquis to provide investor funds to his wife.

The SEC’s complaint charges violations of Sections 5(a), 5(c), and 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”). The complaint also charges Deucher and Clatfelter with violation of Section 15(a) of the Exchange Act, and names Jessica Deucher as a relief defendant. The SEC is seeking injunctive relief, disgorgement, prejudgement interest, and civil money penalties from Marquis, Deucher, and Clatfelter.

The SEC’s investigation has been conducted by Scott Frost and Cheryl Mori and supervised by Richard Best. The litigation will be led by Amy Oliver.

If you are a victim of the Marquis Properties fraud and have a story to tell about it, please do so in the comments below.

Mark Pugsley’s Recent Interview on Mormon Stories

I was recently interviewed by John Dehlin who runs the “Mormon Stories” Podcast about affinity fraud in Utah.  This episode is available in audio only through John’s podcast, or you can watch the video below.


Episode 606: Mormonism and the Culture of Fraud with Attorney Mark Pugsley

Ponzi-scheme-1In this episode we interview Utah attorney Mark Pugsley.  Mark is a commercial litigator at Ray Quinney & Nebeker, is the founder of the web site UtahSecuritiesFraud.com, and has handled civil disputes, investment fraud cases, securities arbitrations, whistleblower cases and regulatory investigations for over twenty years.

In this episode, Mark discusses the culture of financial fraud (e.g., ponzi schemes) within Utah Mormonism.

For those interested, a list of past Mormon-related cases will be assembled here.  Please feel free to share links to other stories in the comments below.

Fraud Cases discussed in the podcast:

    1. Val Southwick of Ogden, Utah (SEC Complaint was filed in February of 2008). Southwick left $180 million owing to investors when his company collapsed and was put into receivership.  This Ponzi scheme lasted over 20 years.
    2. Jeffrey Mowen of Lindon, Utah (SEC Complaint was filed in September of 2009). Raised approximately $41 million promising bank-backed CDs from a New Zealand bank that paid returns as much as 33% per month.
    3. Roger Bliss of Bountiful, Utah (SEC Complaint filed in February of 2015). Investors incurred losses of $3,299,689 relating to an “investment club” he ran out of his large Bountiful home. He told investors that he had achieved annual returns of between 100 to 300%.
    4. Dean Udy of Brigham City, Utah (Sued by State of Utah in August of 2012). Udy scammed approximately 1,500 investors who suffered a total  estimated loss of $20 million. He was a former stake president and regional representative in Brigham City, Utah.
    5. Travis Wright of Holladay, Utah (SEC Complaint was filed in 2010). He raised $145 million from 175 investors promising returns of 24% per year.
    6. John S. Dudley of Sandy, Utah. (US Attorney obtained a 17-count criminal indictment in May 2011) Investors suffered $6.8 million in losses, promised returns of 5-10% per month.
    7. Shawn Merriman of Denver Colorado (SEC Complaint filed in April of 2009). He was sentenced to 12½ years in federal prison for defrauding 67 victims out of $21 million.  Merriman was a Bishop in the LDS Church in Colorado and raised the money from friends, neighbors and fellow church members.  The government seized roughly $4 million in fine art, antique cars, sports memorabilia and animal trophies collected on his safari trips when they arrested him.
    8. Wendell Jacobsen of Fountain Green, Utah (SEC Complaint was filed in December of 2011, Utah AG’s office brought criminal charges earlier this year)  Allegedly raised $200 million from more than 400 investors promising returns of 12-15% per year returns by investing in apartment complexes.

The SEC’s New Whistleblower Program Has Proven to be a Game Changer

The_Office_of_the_Whistleblower(SEC)_SymbolSEC Chair Mary Jo White gave a speech at the Northwestern University School of Law on April 30, 2015 on the SEC’s new Whistleblower Program.  She called it a “game changer.”  She said that despite criticism, whistleblowers provide “an invaluable public service” the SEC increasingly sees itself as the “whistleblower’s advocate.”

Whistleblower Statistics

After just four years the SEC’s program has seen significant successes:

  • The number of tips they have received is high and has increased by more than 20 percent.
  • In 2014, the SEC received over 3,600 tips (about ten a day), which is up from about 3,200 tips in 2013.
  • In the first quarter of this year, they have seen the numbers increase by more than 20 percent over the same quarter last year.
  • Tips have come from whistleblowers from all fifty states and sixty foreign countries.
  • The tips span the full spectrum of federal securities law violations.

The program is still fairly new, but so far a total of seventeen whistleblowers have received awards.  Payouts have totaled nearly $50 million and the SEC has made individual awards in excess of $1 million three times.  The highest award to date is over $30 million.  In the last fiscal year, the Commission issued more awards to more people for more money than in any previous year – and that trend is expected to accelerate.

Retaliation

Chairman White also stated that the SEC is “very focused” on cracking down on retaliation against whistleblowers and wants whistleblowers and their employers to know that employees are free to come forward without fear of reprisals.  The statute provides that employers cannot “discharge, demote, suspend, threaten, harass, directly or indirectly, or in any other manner discriminate against, a whistleblower in the terms and conditions of employment because of any lawful act done by the whistleblower” to provide information or assistance to the SEC.

If they suffer retaliation whistleblowers can sue the company directly, and the SEC may also bring an action for retaliation against an employer.  The SEC believes that strong enforcement of the anti-retaliation protections is critical to the success of the SEC’s whistleblower program and bringing retaliation cases will continue to be a high priority.

The Bottom Line

The SEC’s Whistleblower program is intended to create powerful financial incentives for individuals to provide real evidence of fraud or any wrongdoing that harms investors to the SEC.  She stated that the ultimate goal of the whistleblower program is to deter further wrongdoing.  She admitted that it is “too early to draw conclusions about whether the program has altered corporate behavior and reduced wrongdoing.  But we certainly hope it has and will continue to do so.”


Ray Quinney & Nebeker has one of the largest and most experienced whistleblower and false claims act practices in the region, including a former United States Attorney, two former attorneys with the U.S. Department of Justice, and several attorneys who were investigators with the Utah Division of Securities.  Together we have many years of experience assisting clients with the investigation of these cases, navigating the complex statutory framework relating to these cases, maintaining confidentiality, protecting against retaliation and, where appropriate, filing lawsuits.  We have recovered millions of dollars for our clients in these cases and have the resources, experience, and expertise to investigate these cases and to represent our clients from the claims process through trial.

If you have information about securities fraud or government fraud you may be entitled to a substantial reward.  For more information or to schedule a confidential consultation, contact me at mpugsley@rqn.com online or call 801-323-3380.

Copyright 2015 by Mark W. Pugsley.  All rights reserved.

Receiverships: Recovery Can Be More than Pennies on the Dollar

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-image-pennies-dollar-image3195441By Jared N. Parrish

 “Once a receiver takes over you won’t see a dime.”

“The lawyers for the receiver will just take all the money and leave nothing for investors.”

“Don’t file a claim because there won’t be any money available anyway.”

These are some of the most common statements I hear from investors who put money into a financial fraud that is later placed in receivership. The modern lexicon of Ponzi schemes and financial fraud cases is wrought with pessimism and a seeming presumption that no money will flow from a judicially-created receivership estate to the defrauded investors. This is a dangerous misconception which is not borne out in practice. However, the misconception continues to lead many victims of financial fraud to the conclusion they should not pursue their claim against the receivership estate.

Recently, two major Utah receivership cases have returned 100% of losses to the investors who filed claims. Most recently in the Securities and Exchange Commission’s enforcement action against Management Solutions, Inc., U.S. District Court Judge Bruce Jenkins approved a distribution plan which will repay all investor claimants all of their principal losses. In his address to the Court during the distribution plan hearing, Daniel Wadley, the lead trial counsel for the Securities and Exchange Commission, noted that the biggest fear he had heard from investors early in the case was that the receivership was going to suck up all the money in legal and other professional fees. Over 400 claims were filed in that receivership.

In another example, U.S. District Court Judge David Nuffer approved a distribution plan in the Securities and Exchange Commission’s action against Impact Payment Systems and John Scott Clark which also returned 100% of principal losses to all claimants. Impact Payment Systems was a payday lending operation based in Logan, Utah which was operated as a Ponzi scheme. The Receiver, Gil A. Miller of Rocky Mountain Advisory, has disbursed over $18 million to investors.

A receiver’s principal duty is to marshal and protect the assets of the companies under his or her control, and to determine whether those companies can continue to operate lawfully after the principals have been removed. Receivers are uniquely suited to recover money and other assets that have been transferred by the principals of a financial fraud to others, so that those assets can be distributed to the defrauded investors. Federal and state laws protect receivers from traditional legal challenges which face other types of parties in litigation and in the administration of companies in receivership, making the path to recovery of assets easier.

The investor, not the receiver, bears the duty to pursue their claim in a receivership. This means it is the responsibility of the investor to keep informed about the receivership, to file a claim form, and to prosecute that claim if they disagree with the receiver’s distribution plan.  A receiver will not simply look to a company’s internal records to find investors and send money to them. If an investor who has lost money in a financial fraud does not file a claim in the case they will receive nothing. I have spoken with dozens of investors who failed to file claims in receivership cases and are rendered ineligible for a distribution. The excuses range from, “I didn’t think there would be any money” to “my investment adviser told me not to file.” An investor who does not file a claim form, but subsequently wishes to receive a distribution, must file a motion with the receivership court and demonstrate “excusable neglect” for their failure to file. The rationale, “I didn’t think there would be any money,” is not excusable neglect.

The perception that investors will receive nothing once their investment is placed in receivership is generally wrong, and acts as a deterrent to filing a claim. Equity receivers work very hard to generate the highest possible return to as many investors and other claimants in a receivership as possible. Failing to timely file a claim with a receiver is a mistake which can cost defrauded investors a return of much, if not most, of their principal losses.

While an investor typically does not need the assistance of counsel to file a claim in a receivership, it is very helpful to have an experienced lawyer who can keep better apprised through the Court’s notification system regarding the status of the case and who can analyze the distribution plan and claim classification decisions by the Receiver.


Jared N. Parrish is a member of the firm’s Receivership and Securities Litigation practice groups. His practice is devoted to matters involving securities litigation, federal equity receiverships, compliance, state and federal regulatory investigations and enforcement actions. He has represented equity receivers and claimants in some of Utah’s largest financial fraud cases.

 

UPDATE: Would you Invest in the Candwich?

Update #3: Today Judge Clark Waddoups rejected the plea bargain that Wright had negotiated with prosecutors concluding that the deal appeared too light given the magnitude of how Wright had “intentionally deceived and misled people.”  The defendant will now be forced to negotiate a new plea bargain with the U.S. Attorney’s office — or go to trial.  The judge’s decision appears to be based primarily upon the letters he received from angry investors.

UPDATE #2: Last week Travis Wright pleaded guilty to one count of fraud, admitting he operated a massive Ponzi scheme that owed investors at least $44 million when it went bust in 2009.  He will be sentenced after the judge hears testimony from the victims.

UPDATE:  My friend Tom Harvey reported yesterday in the Salt Lake Tribune that Travis Wright, who ran Waterford Funding, entered a plea of not guilty before U.S. Magistrate Paul Warner to the charge of mail fraud.  The article can be found here.

On July 7, 2010 the New York Times ran a story about the SEC’s recent lawsuit against Travis Wright and Waterford Funding.  The SEC’s press release about the case can be found here.   Among other things, the SEC’s lawsuit alleges that Wright lied to his investors saying he was investing their money in hard money loans secured by real estate, when really he was funneling most of their money to the inventor of the “Candwich” (who also planned to offer Pepperoni Pizza Pockets and French toast in a can).  Yum.

This is the part that is really baffling to me about this case.  Did he really think the Candwich would be more profitable than real estate?  Given the current state of the real estate market it may be the case — but not between 2001 and 2007 when the fund was really going strong.  The SEC also alleges that he used $15 million of investor funds for personal use, including the purchase of a $5 million home on Walker Lane from former Jazz legend Jeff Hornacek, which he completely renovated and imported cobblestones from France for the driveway.   But it was probably pretty trashy after Hornacek moved out.

Continue reading “UPDATE: Would you Invest in the Candwich?”

VesCorp – The Largest Ponzi Case in Utah History – Nears Conclusion

As reported on the website Law360, A Utah federal judge on Wednesday approved a $125.6 million final judgment that settled the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s case against Vescor Capital Corp.  This judgment apparently relates to the company, not Val Southwick who pled guilty to nine counts of securities fraud in 2008 and was sentenced to serve nine consecutive 1 to 15-year prison terms.

But if you are an investor hoping to get you money back, don’t hold your breath.   According to the article Vescor’s receiver, Robert G. Wing of Prince Yeates & Geldzahler, has stated publicly that the money may never materialize.  “They did not get $125 million, they got a judgment,” he said.  Mr. Wings expects to be able to recover only a small fraction of the money Vescor allegedly took from investors.  In his most recent report to the court, Wing said he had recovered just over $5 million, and the legal and accounting fees continue to mount, the Receiver’s lawsuits to recover money from third parties will continue.

Bottom line:  nobody wins in a Ponzi Scheme — except maybe the lawyers.

New SEC Lawsuit Against Raymond P. Morris, E&R Holdings and Wise Financial Holdings (among others)

Today the Salt Lake City office of the Securities and Exchange Commission filed a lawsuit against Raymond P. Morris, E&R Holdings, LLC, Wise Financial Holdings, LLC, Momentum Leasing, LLC, James L. Haley, Cornerstone Capital Fund, LLC, Vantage Point Capital, LLC, Jay J. Linford, Freedom group, LLC, and Luc D. Nguyen (an attorney). The suit alleges that the named individuals ran a Ponzi scheme that bilked scores of investors out of “no less than $60 million.”

The complaint alleges that from March 2007 through January 2009, Raymond Morris offered and sold unregistered promissory notes to investors. In the course of soliciting these loans the SEC alleges that he and the other defendants made misrepresentations to investors to convince them that they were purchasing high yield notes that were risk free. Morris allegedly told investors that their funds would be deposited into a secure account and would be used only to verify deposits.

However, instead of using the funds as represented Morris allegedly used investor funds “for personal expenses, including a luxurious home and several sports cars, and for making Ponzi payments to create an illusion of a successful investment.” Continue reading “New SEC Lawsuit Against Raymond P. Morris, E&R Holdings and Wise Financial Holdings (among others)”