Recovery of Sonoma Ridge Capital Investment Losses

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

Have you suffered investment losses in Sonoma Ridge Capital, LLC? If so, The White Law Group may be able to help you recover your losses by filing a FINRA Dispute Resolution claim against the brokerage firm that sold you the investment.

According to the Sonoma Ridge Capital website, the company is a private money lender that offers short-term commercial mortgage financing. In addition, Sonoma Ridge Capital sometimes partner with other capital providers on multi million dollar financing opportunities.

In a recent letter to Investors, Sonoma Ridge Capital announced that steps have been taken to liquidate portions of the portfolio. However, the letter states that, ‘unexpected economic and other circumstances have made the future development of [Sonoma Ridge Capital]‘s other assets more difficult to predict.”

The letter goes on to discuss the status of the portfolio’s assets. Many of which may be disconcerting for investors. For example, a condominium project property sold in Parker, Arizona, that was subject to various property line disputes and government penalties, resulted in a net sales proceeds of $196,000. Due to “various complexities,” Sonoma Ridge Capital estimates their share of the proceeds to be approximately $30,000 after expenses.

In Michigan, 29 residential lots SPR acquired were marketed at a lower price in face of “current economic conditions.” The property was sold and Sonoma Ridge Capital recovered $34,317 in proceeds, which they expect to use to cover outstanding expenses.

While some of the assets in Sonoma Ridge Capital’s portfolio may be more promising, many investors are wondering what their broker got them into. Formerly known as Jadda Secured Senior Mortgage Fund, the investment was sold to investors as a private placement and is exempt from registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Private placements are inherently risky and lack regulatory oversight, making them better suited for sophisticated and institutional investors.

Broker dealers that solicit private placements are required to perform adequate due diligence to ensure that investment recommendation are suitable for each individual investor. The investment should be in line with regulatory guidelines that include the client’s age, risk tolerance, net worth, and investment experience. If a broker fails to make suitable investment recommendations, they may be liable for investment losses.

To determine whether you may be able to recover investment losses incurred as a result of your purchase of Sonoma Ridge Capital, please contact The White Law Group at (312) 238-9650 for a free consultation.

The White Law Group is a national securities fraud, securities arbitration, and investor protection law firm with offices in Chicago, Illinois and Boca Raton, Florida.

For more information on the firm, visit www.WhiteSecuritiesLaw.com.

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Raymond James Lawsuit Against Former Employee

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

According to FA Magazine, Raymond James Financial Services (RJFS) has filed a lawsuit against former broker, Jo Ellen Fisher, for allegedly diverting nearly $1.5 million away from an elderly client’s brokerage account. RJFS accused Fisher of concocting a scheme that made it look as though Fisher’s own daughter was the client’s goddaughter, and the money transfers appeared to be gifts. The alleged scheme operated between July 2013 through early 2014.

RJFS alleges Fisher used the money to purchase automobiles, diamonds, and for home remodeling expenses. Some of the funds were returned, however, RJFS’s out-of-pocket loss to make the client whole is $835,000.

FA Magazine reports that court filings indicate that Jo Ellen Fisher is under investigation by the FBI and United States Attorney Office for the Southern District of Ohio. A hearing is set in federal court to hear RFJS’s request to freeze Fisher’s assets.

Brokerage firms have a responsibility to monitor the conduct of their employees. When registered brokers steal from clients and/or violate securities regulations, the brokerage firm where they work may be liable for investment losses.

If you suffered investment losses as a result of your dealings with Jo Ellen Fisher, please call The White Law Group at (312) 238-9650 for a free consultation.

The White Law Group, LLC is a national securities fraud, securities arbitration, investor protection, and securities regulation/compliance law firm dedicated to the representation of investors in FINRA arbitration claims against brokerage firms throughout the United States. The firm’s offices are located in Chicago, Illinois and Boca Raton, Florida.

To learn more about The White Law Group, visit www.WhiteSecuritesLaw.com.

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Broker Runs $6 million Hedge Fund

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

Have you suffered investment losses as a result of your dealings with former Sterne Agee Financial Services broker, Dean Mustaphalli? If so, The White Law Group may be able to help recovery some of your losses.

According to Investment News, Mustaphalli may be expelled from the industry for allegedly operating a $6 million hedge fund without informing his employer. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) accused Mustaphalli of soliciting money for his fund, Mustaphalli Capital Partners, and receiving commissions over a six month period in 2011.

According to Investment News, Mustaphalli earned more than $41,000 in fees from the hedge fund, which has declined an estimated 90%. It’s unclear from the report whether Mustaphalli investors were Sterne Agee customers.

When a broker solicits investments that are not approved by his/her brokerage firm, the act can be considered “selling away.” If proven, the brokerage firm can still be liable for negligent supervision and responsible for investment losses.

If you are concerned about your dealings with Dean Mustaphalli, please contact the securities attorneys of The White Law Group at (312) 238-9690 for a free consultation.

The White Law Group, LLC is a national securities fraud, securities arbitration, investor protection, and securities regulation/compliance law firm with offices in Chicago, Illinois and Boca Raton, Florida.

For more information on The White Law Group, visit www.WhiteSecuritiesLaw.com.

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New Jersey Broker Allegedly Diverts $900,000 to Personal Bank Account

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

Did you suffer investment losses as a result of your dealings with former New Jersey broker, John Montague? If so, The White Law Group may be able to help recoup some of your investment losses.

According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, John Montague recently pled guilty to one count wire fraud, admitting he defrauded investors out of more than $900,000 by diverting checks to his personal bank account.

The charges against Montague stem from information involving an alleged scheme to solicit investors to purchase an investment product he was reportedly not authorized to sell. Montague allegedly “guaranteed investments” and promised investors a 6% return. Authorities allege that many investors made checks payable to Montague, which he then used for personal expenses. To maintain his scheme, Montague allegedly made “dividend” checks to clients.

According to BrokerCheck, during the relevant time, Montague was an employee of the brokerage firm Questar Capital Corporation, working there from 12/2006 – 07/2009. The report indicates he resigned from Questar in 2009 pending the FBI’s investigation into irregularities in his personal bank account.

Brokerage firms have a responsibility to effectively monitor the business activity of their employes. When brokers solicit investors to buy securities not authorized by the firm, the act can be considered “selling away.” If a broker is proven of “selling away,” the brokerage firm may still be liable for negligent supervision and responsible for investment losses.

If you were a client of John Montague and would like to discuss your potential to recover your losses, please call the securities attorney of The White Law Group at (312) 238-9650 for a free consultation.

The White Law Group, LLC is a national securities fraud, securities arbitration, investor protection/compliance law firm with offices in Chicago, Illinois and Boca Raton, Florida.

To learn more about The White Law Group, visit www.WhiteSecuritesLaw.com.

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Berle Lorenzo Stocks barred from securities industry.

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

According to a FINRA disciplinary action announcement, Berle Lorenzo Stocks (CRD #1513263, Charlotte, North Carolina) recently submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent in which he was barred from association with any FINRA member in any capacity.

Without admitting or denying the findings, Stocks consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that he placed securities transactions in a customer’s account without obtaining the customer’s authorization for the trades. The findings stated that while exercising control over the customer’s account, and while acting  with the requisite scienter, Stocks excessively and unsuitably traded and churned the customer’s account in a manner that was inconsistent with the customer’s investment objectives, financial situation and needs. Stocks’ improper trading activity resulted in losses of approximately $75,000 and generated total commissions of approximately $110,000. As a result of Stocks’ conduct, he willfully violated Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder.

For the full findings, see FINRA Case #2012033141501.

According to his FINRA Broker Report, Stocks was registered with Genworth Financial Securities Corporation from August 2005 through June 2012.

The foregoing information, which is all publicly available on FINRA’s website, is being provided by The White Law Group.

The White Law Group is a national securities fraud, securities arbitration, and investor protection law firm with offices in Chicago, Illinois and Boca Raton, Florida.

For a free consultation with a securities attorney, call The White Law Group at 312/238-9650.  For more information on the firm, visit http://www.whitesecuritieslaw.com.

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