Articles Posted in Investigations

The securities attorneys at The Law Office of David Liebrader have opened an investigation into the securities sales by Marcel Pahmer, a registered representative affiliated with Centaurus Financial Inc. and Newport Wealth Advisors.

The pending customer dispute that gives rise to this investigation concerns Marcel Pahmer’s sales of a number of high risk private placements, including Tasty Brands LP, Carter Multifamily Growth and Income Fund and GWG Holdings “L” Bonds. Mr. Pahmer recommended these illiquid, high commission investments to an elderly client who had requested investments to provide regular income with no stock market risk for her retirement.  Instead, due to an over concentration in these high risk programs, the client suffered substantial losses.

These investments, which Mr. Pahmer touted as the foundation of a retirement “income strategy” have performed badly, jeopardizing the client’s retirement; GWG Holdings L Bonds parent company filed for bankruptcy; while Tasty Brands (a pizza hut and burger king franchisee) continues to struggle with inflation and wage pressures, and Carter Multi Family reported that it was suspending distributions in October 2023.  These developments are not surprising given the excessive leverage and high costs associated with these programs.

Las Vegas based cannabis company Integrated National Resources formerly known as Weedgenics was shut down by the SEC in May, 2023. The agency accused the company and its principals Max Bergman and Patrick Williams of running a $60 million Ponzi scheme.

In court filings the SEC asked that Integrated National Resources’ fundraising activities be halted, and for a Receiver to be appointed to take control of the company’s assets and to recoup money for victims of the fraud.  The SEC’s Receiver’s website is located here, and investors can click on the link to get information on the court proceedings.

Another securities regulator (FINRA) recently barred Alexandria Bovee, a former Edward Jones registered representative, whom Integrated National Resources  investors knew as Aia Montgomery, and who was tasked by INR with persuading promissory note investors to exchange their defaulted notes for equity in INR’s unregistered securities offering.  Ms Bovee recently changed her name to Alexandria Rose Montgomery, and has also been named as a Defendant by the SEC.  Operating under an assumed name was evidently par for the course at INR, as Max Bergman’s legal name according to the SEC was Rolf Max Hirschman.

Jazzberry Digital Solutions investigation opened by The Law Office of David Liebrader

Our office has become aware of an unregistered promissory note offering by a Simi Valley based company called Jazzberry Digital Solutions, Inc. Many of the notes were sold out of an insurance agency in Bakersfield, California.

According to one investor, Jazzberry raised millions of dollars by selling unregistered promissory notes to over a hundred investors.

Centaurus Financial investigation into Structured CDs

The securities attorneys at The Law Office of David Liebrader have opened an investigation into the securities related conduct of Centaurus Financial a registered FINRA broker dealer based in Anaheim, California.

The pending customer disputes that gives rise to the investigation concern a number of high risk Structured CDs that Centaurus’ registered representatives sold to the firms’ clients.  According to Investment News, an industry publication, the State of Colorado filed a notice of charges through its Securities Commissioner alleging that Centaurus and two of its brokers have been the subject of a large number of customer complaints involving structured CDs.

Cory Burnell Blueprint Wealth Partners Investigation

The securities attorneys at The Law Office of David Liebrader have opened an investigation into the investment activity of Cory Burnell and Blueprint Wealth Partners, who are the subject of a regulatory filing (Consent Order) issued in September, 2019.

The pending regulatory filling that gives rise to this investigation is the CA Department of Business Oversight’s Consent Order entered into with Cory Burnell and Blueprint Wealth Partners  dated September, 2019 whereby Cory Burnell and Blueprint Wealth Partners consented to the entry of an order containing the following facts; that Burnell managed client funds  through broker dealers LPL Financial and Interactive brokers; that the clients gave Burnell discretion to purchase investments; that Burnell did not adequately inform the clients of the risks of investing in options,  leveraged exchange traded funds and other speculative investments; that Burnell made unsuitable investments for clients, and used excessive leverage.  As a result of these actions, the clients suffered losses, some losing their entire principal investment.

Michael Carter Foresters Equity Services broker Woodbridge Mortgage Fund investigation

The securities attorneys at The Law Office of David Liebrader have opened an investigation into the securities related conduct of Michael Carter a registered representative formerly affiliated with Foresters Equity Services in Henderson, Nevada.

The pending investigation concerns investments made by Michael Carter’s clients into the Woodbridge Mortgage Investment Fund.

Activities of Ricardo Cabrera subject of Nevada Secretary of State’s Administrative Order against G.F. Investment Services.

The securities attorneys at The Law Office of David Liebrader have opened an investigation into the sales activity of Ricardo Cabrera, a Las Vegas based investment advisor formerly affiliated with G.F. Investment Services as well as Wittman Capital Management.  Our firm has received multiple calls from investors who were placed into illiquid investments through Cabrera and Wittman’s sales activities in Nevada.

The administrative action that gives rise to this investigation is the NV Secretary of State’s (Securities Division) administrative order dated September 4, 2018: “In the matter of G.F. Investment Services, LLC”.   In its findings of fact, the Securities Division found that Ricardo Cabrera, while licensed with G.F. Investment Services operated an unlicensed branch office in Sun City Summerlin that was a co-location with Wittman Capital Management.  The NV SOS found that Cabrera transacted business from the Sun City branch, which was never properly licensed through G.F. Investment Services.

Michael Bayliss Investigation

In August, 2019, a FINRA arbitrator panel sitting in Reno, Nevada made an award in excess of $700,000 in favor of an investor in the Michael Bayliss Wealth Strategies Fund.  The award was made against TD Ameritrade for failing to properly vet the Michael Bayliss investment.  Among the claims asserted were those for failure to supervise, breach of contract and violations of state and federal securities laws.  The award includes pre judgment interest and reimbursement for Claimant’s expert witness fees.

The case was brought against TD Ameritrade, which acted as an IRA Custodian for funds managed by Michael Bayliss and his Wealth Strategies Fund.  The investor asserted that being associated with TD Ameritrade gave Bayliss credibility, and it was this association that lead her to place her trust in him and his firm.  The investor also alleged that TD Ameritrade failed to inquire into valuations provided by the Wealth Strategies Fund, giving her a false sense of security as to the value of her investments.

Lucia Securities investigation into variable annuity and non-traded REIT sales

The securities attorneys at The Law Office of David Liebrader have opened an investigation into the sale of illiquid and high risk securities by a Henderson, NV based FINRA registered representative with Lucia Securities (aka Lucia Capital Croup).

The pending customer complaint  that gives rise to the investigation concerns a number of high commission variable annuities, as well as high risk, illiquid non traded real estate investment trusts (REITS) including Preferred Apartment Communities Income Fund, and Business Development Corporation of America, high commission illiquid REITs.  The registered representative with Lucia Securities recommended these illiquid, high commission investments that were supposed to provide income, liquidity and a safe return of principal for retirement purposes.  Instead, due to an over concentration into these programs, the customers have been unable to liquidate their holdings, and have suffered substantial unrealized losses.  Among the investments at issue are: Preferred Apartment Communities Income Fund, Business Development Corporation of America and Axa and Metlife variable annuities.

GPB Capital Holdings the subject of regulator complaints

FINRA, the securities industry regulator has opened an investigation into GPB Capital Holdings, a New York based investment firm that has raised nearly $2 billion from investors nationwide through a series of private placements.  This is in addition to an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission.  Adding to GPB Capital Holding’s woes, in March, 2019 the firm announced that agents from the FBI made an unannounced trip to its offices as part of their own investigation.

GPB Capital Holding’s private placements were sold by reps from dozens of broker dealers to income starved investors looking to supplement their retirement income. Often omitted in the sales pitch is that these private placements provide huge commissions to the broker, while the investor is left with a high risk, illiquid  investment characterized by high fees and conflicts of interest.

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