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Misrepresentations

This archive displays posts tagged as relevant to fraudulent misrepresentations in financial transactions and financial markets. You may also be interested in the following pages:

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August 10, 2022

Angel Oak Capital Advisors and its portfolio manager Ashish Neghandi will pay $1.75 million and $75,000 respectively to settle charges of misleading investors via their $90 million securitization of home renovation loans. When delinquency rates on their “fix-and-flip” loans increased unexpectedly, rather than accelerating return payments to certain investors, as contractually required, defendants artificially reduced delinquency rates by diverting borrowers’ funds to pay down outstanding loan balances. SEC

August 3, 2022

Surgalign Holdings, Inc.—formerly RTI Surgical Holdings, Inc.—and its former executives Brian Hutchison and Robert Jordheim will collectively pay over $2.25 million in civil penalties and disgorgement, for accelerating revenue in contravention of GAAP principles, and in violation of the ’33 Act, the ’34 Act, and SOX. Falling short of their sales targets, RTI shipped future orders ahead of schedule to “pull forward” revenue. This practice cannibalized future revenue streams, damaged important customer relationships, and kept investors in the dark as to the true financial condition of the company. RTI restated its public financial statements from 2014 through 2019 to correct errors caused by this practice. SEC, SEC

August 3, 2022

Arthur Merson will spend 15 months in prison and will pay over $3.4 million in restitution for his scheme to defraud investors by conspiring to commit wire fraud. Merson acted as an intermediary between investors and the principal co-conspirators, representing to investors they could receive a portion of the value of multi-million-dollar Standby Letters of Credit with a minimal investment, and would reap multiples of their investment in a matter of weeks. In 2017 and 2018, Merson lied to investors, calling himself an independent consultant who would receive only a small finder’s fee for his efforts, when in reality he had significant financial interest in the investments and affirmatively misled investors when responding to their inquiries. USAO ME

July 29, 2022

Aegis Capital Corp., and two of its former representatives, Alan Z. Appelbaum and Paul F. Gallivan will pay around $2.5 million total for making materially false and misleading statements and making unsuitable investment recommendations, namely, variable interest rate structured products. Appelbaum, Gallivan, and 14 Aegis brokers recommended these highly complex and risky products to customers with “moderate” risk tolerance, despite having investment timelines inconsistent with the VRSP maturity dates. The targeted customers’ financial needs were disregarded, as were their risk tolerance, investment objectives, age, investment experience, and liquidity needs. SEC

July 29, 2022

First American Payment Systems—a merchant payment processing provider—and two sales affiliates have been ordered to return $4.9 million to businesses harmed by FAPS’ hidden terms, surprise exit fees, and zombie charges. FAPS’ preyed mostly on merchants with limited English proficiency, promising low costs and an easy exit, but hit them with surprise fees and illegal charges when the customers tried to get out. In addition to the monetary penalty, FAPS is required to stop misleading customers about fees and pricing, stop unauthorized bank withdrawals, make service cancellation easier, and stop charging early termination fees. FTC

July 22, 2022

Vanderpoel family members Neal J. II, Eileen, Ryan, and Neal J. IV will pay $1.88 million in penalties, disgorge their ill-gotten gains, and are barred from performing any loan modification, debt adjustment, or mortgage compliance in New Jersey because of their predatory mortgage adjustment services targeting distressed homeowners. The family violated New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act and the Debt Adjustment Act, selling worthless loan modification and other adjustment services to borrowers, and charged excessive upfront fees. The entities used in furtherance of the fraud—Financial Services of America, Financial Processing Services, LLC, Tri-State Financial Relief, LLC, and Mortgage Help and Loan Audits of America, LLC—were also shut down. NJ OAG

July 18, 2022

Equitable Financial Life Insurance Company has agreed to pay $50 million to settle charges of providing statements to 1.4 million variable annuity investors, which included public school teachers and staff, that failed to list all fees paid during the period.  In addition to the monetary settlement, Equitable has agreed to cease and desist from future violations and revise how it presents fee information.  SEC

June 29, 2022

UBS Financial Services Inc. has agreed to pay $25 million in connection with a complex investment strategy that it ran from 2016 to 2017.  Though it marketed and sold YES, or Yield Enhancement Strategy, to some 600 investors, UBS did not adequately inform those investors about possible risks, nor provide its financial advisors with enough training and oversight to counteract those risks.  SEC

June 13, 2022

Charles Schwab & Co., Inc., Charles Schwab Investment Advisory, Inc., and Schwab Wealth Investment Advisory, Inc. will pay $187 million for violating the antifraud provisions of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. Mandated disclosures for Schwab Intelligent Portfolios—Schwab’s robo-adviser product—stated that the amount of cash in the robo-adviser portfolios utilized a “disciplined portfolio construction methodology,” and would seek “optimal return[s].” Instead, Schwab swept cash from the robo-adviser portfolios to its affiliate bank, loaned it out, and kept the difference between the interest it earned on the loans and the interest it paid to the robo-adviser clients. This resulted in customers making less money while taking on the same amount of risk. SEC

June 7, 2022

Morningstar Credit Ratings, LLC will pay a civil monetary penalty of $1,150,000 for disclosure and internal controls violations related to rating commercial mortgage-backed securities. Analysts were permitted to adjust key stresses in the rating model, without disclosing they had done so, impacting 30 transactions from 2015 to 2016. Additionally, effective internal controls were neither established nor enforced for these adjustments from 2015 to 2017, impacting 31 transactions. SEC
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