investment fraud

3 Ways to Recover from Investment Fraud

Jan 20, 2020

Being the victim of investment fraud can be a catastrophic hit to you, your family, and your plans for the future. The money you have worked hard for your entire life can be taken away in an instant. Indeed, one of the best examples of how devastating the impacts of investment fraud can be is the Bernie Madoff case. Bernie Madoff perpetuated a Ponzi scheme that was based on nothing but his charm, his reputation, and the goodwill of his investment firm. As shocking as it may seem, Madoff was able to keep up a billion dollar investment fraud Ponzi scheme for decades. The red flags were there, but the kind of power he wielded on Wall Street, allowed him to keep suspicion from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) at bay. Once the Great Recession hit, however, Madoff was unable to keep up the façade. And, with surprising calmness, Madoff turned himself in, took responsibility for his massive financial crimes, and stated that he always knew the day would come when the authorities would put him in jail. Devastation from Madoff’s Actions The real tragedy, however, was not Madoff’s descent into the criminal punishment that always awaited him, but the victims left in the wake of his massive fraud. Many believe that Madoff only defrauded investors who either were too wealthy to really be hurt by Madoff’s crimes, or should have known that on some level that he was nothing but a fraudster. That, however, is far from the truth. In fact, many of Madoff’s clients were people of limited means, or solidly middle-class individuals. At his sentencing, victim after victim told the court of their poverty solely because of Madoff’s crimes. There was a retired police officer who put all of his life savings into a Madoff account, and was left with nothing. There was an elderly gentleman who did not know how he was going to pay for life-saving treatment for his illness without the money he invested with Madoff. And, there are thousands of other stories like that. Investor fraud lawyer Melanie Cherdack understands the plight of those who are victims of investment fraud. She has “seen it all” when it comes to the schemes that investment brokers use to defraud their clients. So, if after reading this article you want to learn more about whether you need an investment fraud lawyer for your current situation, then we invite you to contact us today on our online contact form, or by calling 888-768-2499. We are the investment fraud lawyers who will leveling the playing field for you. Now, let us get to the 3 ways you can recover investment losses if you were the victim of fraud. 1. Mediation or Arbitration FINRA – the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority – the public/private organization that creates a forum for investors to recover damages from fraud, allows for a number of dispute resolution avenues. To be qualified to use the services of FINRA, the alleged occurrence or event forming the basis of the fraudulent act must have happened within the last six years. If that is the case, then you may want to file an arbitration with FINRA. Compared to going to court, arbitration can be a less costly, easier, and faster option to […]

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Investment Fraud

What Does an Investment Fraud Lawyer Do?

Jan 6, 2020

An investment fraud lawyer fills a very important role for someone who has been scammed by a securities broker – the investment fraud lawyer levels the playing field and fights for you. The “fights for you” part is a given – lawyers should always zealously represent their clients. However, there is something extra. The investment fraud lawyer also “levels the playing field.” Let’s discuss that in more detail.   Investment Fraud Lawyers Level the Playing Field In a nutshell, leveling the playing field means that not only will an investment fraud lawyer advocate on your behalf, but he or she will bring specialized knowledge to bear in your case. When you believe that your money was taken from you unfairly or through deception, a good investment fraud lawyer will capitalize on his or her particularized knowledge and experience in securities law to ensure that you make your case effectively and persuasively. Accordingly, we will devote this blog to discussing the kinds of things that are specific to investment fraud lawyers that you may not know. We will go into detail about what exactly “leveling the playing field” means in the context of securities disputes. In so doing, we hope that you will be better able to understand the value of what an investment fraud lawyer brings to the table.   If, after reading this article you want to learn more about whether you need an investment fraud lawyer for your current situation, then we invite you to contact us today on our online contact form, or by calling 888-768-2499. We are the investment fraud lawyers who will level the playing field for you.    1. Knowledge of the Law The first thing that an investment fraud lawyer will provide to level the playing field is an extensive knowledge of securities law.   Today, there are many specialties in the law ranging from estate planning attorneys to social security disability lawyers. Indeed, there are fewer and fewer “general practice” attorneys because each area of the law is so sophisticated. One person cannot be expected to know all the intricacies of every legal specialty. (That is why you would probably not be well served to have your brother-in-law, who is a criminal defense attorney, draft your last will and testament.)   Accordingly, when you hire the help of an investment fraud lawyer, you are getting someone who understands all the ins and outs of the federal (and, if any, state) securities laws that set the parameters for investment and securities brokers. That kind of knowledge is vital to mounting a case against an unscrupulous investment broker. Remember, any broker whom you challenge will most certainly have an experienced lawyer on his or her side. Be sure that you can match the other side by hiring an experienced investment fraud lawyer.  2. Knowledge of the Process Also in the interest of leveling the playing field, investment fraud lawyers know the process of moving an investment fraud case through the appropriate court or arbitration forum. Almost more important than knowing the law is knowing what papers to draft and file, and when to file them.   With any type […]

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FINRA Arbitration

Do I Need an Attorney to Represent Me in a FINRA Arbitration Case?

Dec 23, 2019

It is completely understandable to be very protective of the money that you worked hard, day in and day out, to earn. In fact, your nest egg is the culmination of years of focus, discipline, and time spent in your life’s work. Your nest egg is something to be very proud of. It is the thing that helps your kids get through college and will be there for you in your sunset years. That is why coming across an unscrupulous investment professional or financial advisor is so emotionally, as well as financially, hurtful. It is hard to find out that the person or brokerage company in which you trusted your hard-earned savings is improperly using that which is rightfully yours.  Therefore, if you find evidence that your financial advisor is unfairly taking your money, then you need to take action. Of course, investing your money always has risks. But if you have a legitimate concern that your financial advisor is abusing his or her trust in administering your finances, then you need to consider a FINRA arbitration or FINRA mediation.   Then the important question becomes: Do you need an attorney to represent you in the FINRA arbitration or FINRA mediation? The answer is that you do not need an attorney, but you will definitely want one once you realize the stakes.  This article will discuss those stakes with you. We will first talk about some securities arbitration fundamentals, and then we can consider whether it is a good idea to hire a securities attorney. Of course, if you have additional questions about your own circumstances after reading this article, we welcome you to contact us today on our online contact form, or by calling 888-768-2499. We are the investment fraud lawyers who can help you.    The Fundamentals of Securities Arbitration First and foremost, FINRA stands for the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. It is a government-authorized, not-for-profit organization that regulates financial broker-dealers in the United States. The mission of FINRA is to: 1. Provide investors with basic protections; 2. Ensure that securities sellers are tested, qualified, and licensed; 3. See that securities advertisements are truthful and not misleading; and 4. Make sure that securities products sold to an investor are suitable for that investor.   FINRA is a regulatory body which protects the investing public though investigations and enforcement actions. It also provides an exclusive forum for resolving disputes between investors and their brokers. If you have opened a brokerage account at a FINRA member firm ( which is basically all major brokerage firms)–you have agreed to have FINRA be the sole forum to file any claims you have regarding your brokerage account. Now, you have likely heard the terms “arbitration” and “mediation” before. They are essentially less formal ways in which to resolve disputes, in which a court of law is not involved. Specifically, with regard to securities disputes, FINRA provides the forum for those arbitrations and mediations.   While less formal, arbitration is very similar to a court proceeding. Yet, the difference is in the fact that arbitrations do not generally have depositions, are concluded more quickly, and are generally cheaper […]

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how to recover losses from investment fraud

How to Recover Losses from Investment Fraud?

Dec 9, 2019

Investment fraud can be hard to detect, and once detected can reveal significant financial losses to you. That is what makes investment fraud so insidious. The wrongdoing is not always obvious, and the results can be substantial. Indeed, investment fraud can come in various forms that are not always easy to recognize when you are a victim.  While there is outright fraud such as non-existent investments or strategies, fake investments, and Ponzi schemes, there are also things that look like legitimate investments that are also types of investment fraud. Those include: Misrepresentations or Omissions. Fraud may occur when an investment client is not fully and fairly informed about the major aspects of an investment strategy or a particular investment. Churning. It can be fraud for a financial advisor to engage in transactions, trades, or other account activity simply to generate more commissions. Unauthorized Trades. An advisor may be guilty of fraud if he or she uses discretion without a client’s permission in order to engage in trades that are not approved by the client. Inappropriate Investments. A finding of fraud is possible when an advisor suggests or agrees to an investment strategy that is not proper based on the client’s age, financial situation, or risk tolerance.   Once you learn that you are a victim of fraud, however, the next question is whether you are able to recover those losses based on the fraud.   In this article, we will discuss one way in which you can recover some of those losses that are the result of investment fraud. Of course, if you have additional questions about your own circumstances after reading this article, we welcome you to contact us today on our online contact form, or by calling 1-888-768-2499. We are the investment fraud lawyers who can help you.    FINRA Arbitration As a general rule, if you are a customer of a FINRA member brokerage firm (most well-known firms are FINRA members) you are required to arbitrate your claim before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or FINRA.  What is FINRA?  FINRA is a self-regulatory organization that regulates broker-dealers in the United States. The mission of FINRA is to: Provide investors with basic protections;  Ensure that securities sellers are tested, qualified, and licensed;  See that securities advertisements are truthful and not misleading; and  Make sure that securities products sold to an investor are suitable for that investor.   Who is Eligible for a FINRA Arbitration? With regard to FINRA arbitration, FINRA provides a forum to arbitrate matters at a relatively low cost for customers of member brokerage firms who have been wronged. To be eligible for a FINRA arbitration, the case must involve an investor and an individual or entity registered with FINRA, and the occurrence or event giving rise to the claim must have happened within the last six years. This occurrence or event does not mean the date of purchase but may be actions such as actively concealing the fraud, continued misrepresentations or continued purchases, or misstatements of value on monthly statements within the past six years. An investor must arbitrate at FINRA if there is a written agreement between investor […]

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SEC Stops Penny Stock Scheme by NIT Enterprises

SEC Stops Penny Stock Scheme by NIT Enterprises

Dec 4, 2019

The Securities and Exchange Commission recently announced an emergency action to stop a South Florida-based penny stock investment fraud. This scheme affected over 100 retail investors nationwide and in Canada.  According to the recently unsealed SEC complaint Defendants NIT Enterprises, Inc., NIT’s CEO Gary R. Smith, Jason M. Ganton, and James E. Cleary, Jr., made misrepresentations in order to raise $4.9 million from investors. Many of the investment fraud victims were seniors. Defendants Ganton and Cleary were previously barred by the SEC from acting as brokers and offering penny stocks to investors. As alleged by the SEC in its complaint, NIT consists of three entities: NIT Delaware, NIT Enterprises, and NIT Florida, NIT’s principal place of business is in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Until March 2016, NIT Delaware was majority owned by a Florida public microcap issuer. The SEC complaint alleges that the defendants represented that NIT was raising money to fund the company’s development of radiation protection products for medical and military use, which would generate significant investment returns. Instead, according to the SEC’s complaint, Smith misappropriated $1.25 million or 25% of total investor proceeds to pay his personal expenses. The SEC also alleges that  NIT and Smith have paid 25% of the  proceeds as undisclosed commissions. The SEC’s complaint further alleges that the defendants falsely promised NIT’s future profitability and told investors that there would be a soon to come initial public offering (“IPO”). The Defendants allegedly told the investors that they  could “double or triple” their investment. Defendants Ganton and Cleary also allegedly concealed their regulatory disciplinary histories and prior SEC actions and bars, in part done through Ganton’s use of an alias name when soliciting investors. The SEC’s complaint charges all defendants with violating the anti-fraud and registration provisions of the federal securities laws and also charges the individual defendants for, either directly or indirectly, acting as unregistered broker-dealers and violating past Commission orders. According to the SEC, the term “penny stock” generally refers to a security issued by a small company that trades at less than $5 per share. Penny stocks generally are quoted over-the-counter, such as on the OTC Bulletin Board . Penny stocks may, however, also trade on securities exchanges, including foreign securities exchanges. Penny stocks may trade infrequently, which means that it may be difficult to sell penny stock shares once you own them creating a liquidity problem for investors who need access to their money. .Moreover, because it may be difficult to find price quotations for certain penny stocks, they may be difficult, or even impossible, to accurately price. For these, and other reasons, penny stocks are generally considered speculative investments. Because of their speculative nature, Congress prohibited broker-dealers from effecting transactions in penny stocks unless they comply with the requirements of Section 15(h) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”) and the rules thereunder. These SEC rules provide, among other things, that a broker-dealer must (1) approve the customer for the specific penny stock transaction and receive from the customer a written agreement to the transaction; (2) furnish the customer a disclosure document describing the risks of investing in penny […]

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Securities fraud attorneys

The 5 Essential Factors to Consider When Finding a Securities Fraud Attorney

Nov 25, 2019

Choosing an attorney can be a challenging prospect.  Indeed, there are myriad factors that come into play when you begin the search for an attorney.   Whether it is a family lawyer to handle a divorce, a trusts and estates lawyer to handle drafting a will, or a criminal defense lawyer to represent you in a criminal case, there are some things that are universal to the search, and some things that are particular to that specific area of practice.   The search for a securities fraud attorney is no different.  The things that you want to see in all lawyers – integrity, experience – you will want in a securities fraud lawyer.  Yet, there are also some characteristics that you want to see specifically with regard to a securities fraud attorney. If you are currently looking for a securities fraud attorney because you were the victim of investor fraud, then this article is for you.  Here, we will discuss the things to look for in general, and specifically with regard to a securities fraud attorney.   Of course, if you have additional questions about your own circumstances after reading this article, we welcome you to contact us today on our online contact form, or by calling 888-768-2499.  1.The Basics for Any Attorney Search: Choice and Rapport Before delving into the criterion specific to securities fraud attorneys, there are just some basics that you should expect with every attorney. First, do not jump at the first attorney you meet or speak to over the phone.  While you may feel that you are comfortable with the first lawyer you encounter, try to pause and meet a few lawyers before deciding.  Remember, your lawyer will likely be working with you for a long period of time, will have access to your personal information, and will need to assist you through a difficult time.  That is a substantial responsibility, and you will want to be informed about who is out there before making a final decision on representation.   Second, keep an eye out for the rapport you have when you meet with an attorney for the first time.  While there might be many lawyers out there who are technically proficient, or have the highest honors from law school, but may not necessarily “click” with you.  Again, take the time to meet with several attorneys to see with whom you can establish the best working relationship.  2.Type of Securities Fraud Experience You will, of course, want some amount of experience with any attorney you hire.  With securities fraud, however, you will want to make sure that the attorney you choose has considerable experience in this area such as being a former Wall Street lawyer or representing Wall Street firms. Why do you want someone with that type of background?  You want that experience because lawyers who have been “on the other side of the aisle,” so to speak, are far better able to assess your case and anticipate the counterarguments that will be coming back in your direction if you pursue a securities fraud lawsuit. With someone who has such experience, that person has already spent a […]

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Investment Fraud Attorneys

SEC Freezes Palm Financial and Shore Financial In Ponzi Scheme

Nov 20, 2019

Yesterday, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) announced its filing of an emergency action for a temporary restraining order and asset freeze against Neil Burkholz of Boca Raton, Florida, and Frank Bianco, of Pembroke Pines, Florida, and their companies Palm Financial Management LLC and Shore Management Systems LLC, for an alleged $6 million Ponzi  scheme. Many of the investor victims are senior citizens between the ages of 65 and 100, including several Florida small-business owners. At least some have liquidated their retirement savings and other assets to invest with Defendants. According to the SEC’s complaint, the defendants falsely touted their proprietary options trading strategies as highly profitable. In reality, as alleged in the complaint, Defendants did not properly invest victim assets, nor where the invested assets profitable. Instead, Bianco and Burkholz knowingly channeled new money obtained from the investor victims in three ways: to pay other investors purported profits or redemptions, to pay themselves, and to invest the money in a calamitous trading strategy that has incurred years of material, undisclosed losses. Much of the money was not in fact invested and, as alleged in the Complaint,  the defendants misappropriated the remaining cash which was not invested by using it to repay other investors (a classic Ponzi scheme hallmark) and by transferring approximately $880,000 of investor funds to themselves and their spouses for personal use. According to the SEC’s complaint, the Defendants sent false reports to investors to conceal their fraudulent conduct and give the investors the false impression they were generating positive returns. As stated in the Complaint, to perpetuate their scheme, Defendants employed a variety of methods to discourage withdrawals. These tactics included providing redemption payments funded from other investors’ money and sending false investment reports intended to reassure investors that their assets continued to grow. The SEC’s complaint, filed in federal court in Miami on Nov. 14 and unsealed Monday, Nov. 18, charges the defendants with securities fraud and seeks certain emergency relief as well as permanent injunctions, return of allegedly ill-gotten gains with prejudgment interest, and civil penalties. The complaint also names Burkholz’s wife, Rhoda Burkholz, and Bianco’s wife, Suzanne Bianco, as relief defendants. Former Wall Street Attorney Melanie S. Cherdack represents investors in the United States and the Caribbean in claims against brokers and brokerage firms for wrongdoing. If you believe you are the victim of a Ponzi scheme or other financial fraud you may have a claim for damages. For a free consultation, contact us by filling out our online contact form, or calling 305-349-2336.

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Investment Fraud Attorneys

How Do You Select the Right Investment Fraud Attorney?

Nov 11, 2019

You have been the victim of investment fraud.  What do you do now?   Without question, your first order of business is to retain the services of an experienced, qualified attorney to handle your investment fraud matter.  Yet, having suffered loss at the hands of an investment “professional,” it is perfectly understandable that you may be a little reluctant to start wading through an endless choice of lawyers to prosecute an investment fraud case.  Indeed, it can be difficult to know who might be the best investment fraud lawyer for you under the circumstances. In this blog, we hope to assuage some of those fears. While selecting any type of attorney is always a subjective process that relies on your own judgment and preferences, we will discuss a few important tips to help you be better prepared to select the investment fraud attorney who is right for you. Tip #1 – Do Your Research, Avoid Snap Decisions There is a phrase that goes back to the children’s stories we all remember:  “Slow and steady wins the race.” Yes, to garner a little wisdom from the old Tortoise and the Hare story, faster is not always better.  More to the point, do not jump at the first attorney you meet. Take your time – slow and steady – to speak with several attorneys before making a decision. While that advice is good for the selection of an attorney in any field, it is vital when you are pursuing a case against a person who purported to be a “financial professional.”  That is because you need to find an attorney who is both seasoned in dealing with the complexity of investment fraud cases and is someone with whom you feel comfortable.   Accordingly, in the research phase, you want to start by getting some personal referrals.  Ask friends, colleagues, and neighbors for recommendations. You may be surprised that you will get the names of a few attorneys right away.    Then, check with state bar associations and, of course, do your online research to find the investment fraud attorneys in your area.   Once you have compiled a list of attorneys who you think would be able to help you, then move into the evaluation phase.  That is what the next series of tips is all about. Tip #2 – Experience, Experience, Experience The number one consideration in selecting an investment fraud attorney is – you guessed it – experience.  There are attorneys and firms that focus on a number of legal fields, and there are others that specialize in only one. It is very possible that a law firm with a more diverse practice could still effectively help you when acting as your investment fraud attorney.  Yet, all things being equal, you might be better off with an attorney who focuses solely on investment fraud matters. Why is that?  That is because a person laser-focused on investment fraud cases will have seen every possible fact pattern that could come up in an investment fraud case.  Thus, an attorney who has, so to speak, “seen it all,” will be that much better at knowing how […]

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Retired NFL Players are Victims in Alleged Financial Fraud by Cambridge

Sep 2, 2019

The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) recently charged a Florida-based investment adviser firm and its principals with defrauding investors who

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SEC Freezes Assets in Digital Securities Scam

Aug 14, 2019

Today the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) announced fraud charges against Reginald “Reggie” Middleton, a self-described

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