Richard Botkin, a registered representative from Granite Bay, California, with Stifel, Nicolaus & Company and formerly with Morgan Stanley, was suspended from FINRA membership as a result of an investigation into his participation in private dealings without obtaining his firm’s approval, which is a violation of FINRA rules. Botkin entered into an acceptance waiver and consent agreement with FINRA in which he neither admitted nor denied the findings, but agreed to a suspension of four months and a fine of $15,000.

In May 2017, Richard Botkin agreed to the suspension and FINRA published its findings that he took part in private securities transaction without telling his firm or getting their approval. He sold shares in a production company to create a documentary film and approached his own customers from the firm to invest money. His firm prohibited customers from dealing in private transactions with him, but he approached them anyway.

Four of the firm’s customers invested a total of $170,000 and other customers invested $75,000. FINRA also found that Botkin lied to his firm about his participation in this investment dealing when asked about it.

Scott Polish, a registered representative from Solon, Ohio, formerly with Wells Fargo Clearing Services, was suspended from FINRA membership as a result of an investigation into his misuse of money from a customer without obtaining firm approval, which is a violation of FINRA rules. Polish entered into an acceptance waiver and consent agreement with FINRA in which he neither admitted nor denied the findings, and was barred from FINRA.

In May 2017, Scott Polish agreed to the suspension and FINRA published its findings that he misused two of his customer’s funds. FINRA asked for documentation and information about these claims, and Polish refused to give them anything. Because of he did not provide sufficient information, FINRA barred him from association.

Earlier this year, he was accused by a couple of his elderly customers of paying his credit card bill with money that they had given him for investments. While he reportedly credited them the money back, he did not inform his firm.

Andrew Logullo, a registered representative from Los Angeles, California, formerly with Ameritas Investment Corp., was suspended from FINRA membership as a result of an investigation into his ownership of discretionary accounts with members of another firm, which is a violation of FINRA rules. Logullo entered into an acceptance waiver and consent agreement with FINRA in which he neither admitted nor denied the findings, but agreed to a suspension of six months and a fine of $10,000.

In May 2017, Andrew Logullo agreed to the suspension and FINRA published its findings that he did not tell his firm about his discretionary trading authority that he had with three investors at another firm. He did not provide correct authorization of his accounts with these investors and did not give written notice to his firm about his outside dealings with them. Logullo did not tell his clients that he was registered with FINRA at his current firm, but instead had them give him discretionary authority over their accounts and investments.

FINRA found that Andrew Logullo also had dealings as a president and agent at another firm that allowed him to give investment consulting advice to clients. His FINRA-registered firm was not told of this outside business, and claims not to have known about any of his roles outside of their firm.

Tracy Turner, a registered representative from San Marcos, California, formerly with Colorado Financial Service Corporation, was barred from FINRA membership as a result of an investigation into his participation in a private securities investment transaction without obtaining his firm’s prior approval, which is a violation of FINRA rules. Turner entered into an acceptance waiver and consent agreement with FINRA in which he neither admitted nor denied the findings, but was barred from FINRA and fined over $270,000

In June 2017, Tracy Turner agreed to the suspension, and FINRA published its findings that Turner sold over $4 million in investments in saltwater disposal wells. He was paid for every customer that he brought to invest in the private deal. Durign its investigation, FINRA found that eight customers that invested were also clients of the firm.

The AWC alleges that Turner lied to his firm, and also misled the customers to whom he pitched and sold the investments. The complaint alleged thatTurner advertised the investment opportunities online with false information which did not contain sufficient details about the risks involved in the offerings. It also stated that he provided incorrect projections to his investors about what their financial return from the investments could be.

The Woodbridge Group of Companies filed for bankruptcy in December, 2017 after the Securities and Exchange Commission opened an investigation against them for, among other things, selling unregistered securities.  As a result of these two proceedings, Woodbridge Group’s assets have been frozen, and investors face a long delay before they begin receiving their investment principal back.

In the meantime, investors should consider their options; If the SEC and multiple state securities regulators are correct, that the Woodbridge Group sold unregistered securities through misrepresentations, then investors may have a remedy they can pursue while the bankruptcy proceedings unfold in Delaware.

Not only does Woodbridge Group and its “control persons” (including Robert Shapiro) have liability for selling unregistered securities, but so does anyone who materially aided in the transactions, such as the salespeople, and possibly, the company that employed the salespeople.  All states have securities laws that prohibit the sale of unregistered securities, and investors should look to their state’s securities laws to pursue claims and recover funds lost in their Woodbridge Group transactions.

Todd Seeholzer a representative for Allegis Investment Services in Logan, Utah recommended a risky options strategy that caused substantial losses on August 21, 2015. We presently represent several clients who were solicited by Todd Seeholzer to open accounts with Allegis Investment Services.

The securities attorneys at The Law Office of David Liebrader have opened an investigation into the securities related conduct of Todd Seeholzer, a licensed FINRA registered representative from Logan Utah who is affiliated with Allegis Investment Services.

Seeholzer presented Allegis’ clients with a complex options strategy despite not having the proper license to recommend options transactions.  The options strategy failed spectacularly on August 21, 2015, when the transaction at issue cost Allegis’ clients $39 million.  The net credit spread strategy that caused the losses was a high risk strategy suitable only for aggressive investors.

Madyson Capital Asset Freeze; Receiver Appointed

UPDATE: February 2, 2018. DORA disciplines brokers Dennis Farrah and Mark Raezer over Madyson sales. The Law Office of David Liebrader files claims, opens investigation.

The securities attorneys at The Law Office of David Liebrader have opened an investigation into the securities related conduct of Madyson Capital Management after the firm and its founder Joseph Ryan were charged by the Colorado Securities Commissioner with engaging in securities fraud and misleading investors by using money raised to support Ryan’s extravagant lifestyle.

Goldfield Oil Goldfield McKenzie 7 Drilling Fund sued in Clark County District Court.

The securities attorneys at The Law Office of David Liebrader have opened an investigation into the securities related conduct of the Las Vegas based company Goldfield Oil Goldfield Mckenzie 7 Drilling Fund.

The underlying matter concerns the solicitation by Goldfield to invest in their Goldfield McKenzie 7 Drilling Fund through the use of cold calling of prospective investors.

Woodbridge Mortgage Investment Fund of Sherman Oaks, California has been the subject of several regulatory actions concerning allegations that the firm used unlicensed individuals to sell unregistered securities.

On November 1, 2017 the SEC initiated a proceeding to obtain information from Woodbridge Mortgage Investment Fund of Sherman Oaks, California seeking to compel the firm to produce documents as part of an investigation into Woodbridge’s fund raising efforts

The SEC action concerns Woodbridge Mortgage Investment Fund’s conduct in raising over one billion dollars from investors, and whether the offerings were completed using unregistered securities.  The SEC contends that Woodbridge has delayed responding to its prior requests for production of documents and information, necessitating the filing of the action in the Southern District of Florida District Court.

Financial West Investment Group fined over private placement escrow accounts.

In June 2017, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) announced that Financial West Investment Group of Westlake, California, submitted an acceptance, waiver and consent letter, or AWC, regarding its participation in private placement offerings without the use of an escrow account. The firm was censured and fined $20,000.

FINRA’s allegations against Financial West Investment Group concerned the firm’s role in collecting and placing private placement securities without the use of an escrow account, which is a violation of industry rules. The AWC stated that the firm did not designate an account to receive the funds, and instead sent checks from the investors directly to the issuer. Such actions violate not only the firm’s Written Supervisory Procedures but also the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.