CA Dept. of Business Oversight files action against Artec Global Media and Caleb Wickman

The securities attorneys at The Law Office of David Liebrader have opened an investigation into the investment activity of Artec Global Media and Caleb Wickman, who are the subject of a regulatory filing (Desist and Refrain Order) issued in July, 2019.

The pending regulatory filling that gives rise to this investigation is the CA Department of Business Oversight’s Desist and Refrain Order against Artec Global Media and Caleb Wickman  dated July 19, 2019 whereby the Commissioner of the Department determined that Artec Global Media and Caleb Wickman offered and sold unqualified securities to investors by means of a general solicitation, selling securities to members of the public with whom they did not have a substantive, pre-existing relationship.

Alvin Cohen Michael Reinboth and Ralph Muscatelli subjects of CA Desist and Refrain Order

The securities attorneys at The Law Office of David Liebrader have opened an investigation into the investment activity of Alvin Cohen Michael Reinboth and Ralph Muscatelli and their companies Encore Releasing, Incorporated Productions  and Mammoth Film Group who are the subjects of a regulatory filing (Desist and Refrain Order) issued in June, 2019.

The pending regulatory filling that gives rise to this investigation is the CA Department of Business Oversight’s Desist and Refrain Order against Alvin Cohen Michael Reinboth and Ralph Muscatelli  and their related companies dated June 11, 2019 whereby the Commissioner of the Department of Business Oversight determined that Cohen, Reinboth and Muscatelli  offered and sold securities to investors while omitting material facts.  Among the omissions were that Muscatelli was the subject of an S.E.C. lawsuit in 1985 whereby he was permanently enjoined from violating the registration and antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws; that Cohen was barred from association with any broker dealer by the NASD (now FINRA); that Cohen was the subject of a court judgment, and numerous state and federal tax liens; that the Pennsylvania Securities Commission had ordered Encore Releasing and Alvin Cohen to cease and desist selling securities in Pennsylvania; that in 2012 the California Dept. of Corporations ordered Cohen to cease selling unqualified securities in California; and that investors’ money would be used to pay Alvin Cohen Michael Reinboth and Ralph Muscatelli salaries and commissions and for personal expenses.

CA Dept. of Business Oversight Settles Claim Over George Pidgeon Fund Raising for Francis Capital Management

The securities attorneys at The Law Office of David Liebrader have opened an investigation into the sales activity of George Pidgeon, a former registered representative with Triple A Partners of Los Angeles, CA.  Pidgeon’s activities raising funds for Francis Capital Management were the subject of two regulatory filings by the California Department of Business Oversight and the Department of Corporations.

The pending regulatory filling that gives rise to this investigation is the CA Department of Business Oversight’s settlement agreement with Francis Capital Management dated June 3, 2019 whereby the Commissioner of the Department determined that Francis Capital Management engaged George Pidgeon as an unregistered solicitor/investment advisor who introduced investors to Francis Capital Management’s funds, and compensated the broker dealers with whom Pidgeon was affiliated with for his efforts in raising capital for the firm.  The Commissioner also determined that FCM made untrue statements to the Commission concerning Pidgeon’s employment.  This settlement follows the June, 2018 filling of a statement in support of an order imposing administrative penalties against Francis Capital Management whereby the facts state that Pidgeon was paid over $300,000 is sales compensation and finder’s fees by FCM.

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.

Wedbush Securities Bryan Gill activities subject of Nevada Secretary of State Order

securities attorneys at The Law Office of David Liebrader have opened an investigation into the sales activity of Bryan Gill, a North Las Vegas based former registered representative and investment advisor formerly affiliated with Wedbush Securities, who was investigated for doing business out of an unlicensed branch office in North Las Vegas.  Gill has been the subject of at two customer complaints that went to arbitration, resulting in awards to the customers.

The administrative action that gives rise to this investigation is the NV Secretary of State (Securities Division) administrative order dated September 17, 2017: “In the matter of Wedbush Securities, Inc.”   In its findings of fact, the Securities Division found that Bryan Gill, while licensed with Wedbush Securities did business out of an unlicensed branch office in North Las Vegas.  According to the finding of fact in the order, the Secretary of State began inquiring into Gill’s activities in North Las Vegas beginning in August, 2016.  Subsequent notices were sent in October, 2016 and March, 2017 asking for information.  On May 3, 2017 investigators for the NV Secretary of State’s Securities Division attempted to conduct an on-site inspection of Gill’s unlicensed branch office but Gill refused to admit his identity to the investigators. Finally, in May, 2017 Wedbush provided the NV SOS with documents establishing that Gill was conducting securities related business out of the North Las Vegas location from July, 2016 through May 2017 while the branch was not licensed.

Former Securities America Broker Jeremy Kisner Conduct Subject of NV Secretary of State Action

The securities attorneys at The Law Office of David Liebrader have opened an investigation into the sales activity of Jeremy Kisner, a Phoenix based investment advisor formerly affiliated with Securities America, and formerly doing business out of an unlicensed branch office in Las Vegas.  Kisner has been the subject of at least one customer complaint that went to arbitration, resulting in an award to the customer.

The administrative action that gives rise to this investigation is the NV Secretary of State (Securities Division) administrative order dated March 5, 2018: In the matter of Securities America, Inc.”   In its findings of fact, the Securities Division found that Jeremy Kisner, while licensed with Securities America did business out of an unlicensed branch office on Hillwood Drive in Las Vegas.  According to the finding of fact in the order, the same location housed four businesses: American Dream U, Nevada Benefits (Surevest Capital and Financial Services and Investment corporation.  Mr. Kisner has been affiliated with Surevest Wealth Management since 2009, and was the subject of a separate Nevada Secretary of State regulatory action in 2009 regarding Surevest.

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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