True investment advisers have fiduciary obligations that they owe to their clients.  As such, they have an obligation to make full and fair disclosure to clients and prospective clients concerning their material conflicts of interest, including conflicts arising from financial incentives, and to act consistently with those disclosures. This principle is reflected in Form ADV, which reminds advisers of their general obligation to fully disclose material facts relating to their advisory business and specifically requires disclosure concerning the compensation and fees that advisers and their supervised persons receive, including from asset-based charges and service fees.

The chance of a conflict of interest arising increases based upon the number of rolls that a professional assumes in dealing with a client. This is especially true for attorneys. Some attorneys attempt to provide estate and tax planning advice to clients and then offer investments to those clients through broker/dealer or investment advisory firms with which they are associated.  When does the attorney’s legal advice end and his investment activities commence?  This is a question that is difficult to answer. Every factual situation will be different.  If you have any questions concerning an investment that you have made based upon the recommendation of your attorney/advisor, please feel free to contact us.

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The State of Florida has adopted its own version of the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC). The UCC, for most people including some lawyers, is not a easy statute to understand. Thus, if you believe that you have a claim under the UCC, prudence would suggest that you contact a qualified professional to represent your interests. For example, to state a claim for breach of an express warranty under the Florida UCC, the complainant must allege and prove (1) the sale of goods;(2) the express warranty; (3) breach of the warranty; (4) notice to the seller of the breach; and, (5) the injuries sustained by the buyer as a result of the breach of the express warranty.
Please keep in mind that the above information is being provided for educational purposes only. It is not designed to be complete in all material respects. If you have any questions relative to the contents of this post, you should contact a qualified professional.
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A Pure Bill of Discovery is an equity pleading which is granted pursuant to the Court’s auxiliary jurisdiction.  A Court’s jurisdiction usually consists of the right to decide a case or controversy between parties;  however, Florida Courts, also have the auxiliary power and jurisdiction to enter orders that a person or organization provide documents, submit to depositions or to otherwise comply with the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure presuit.  A Pure Bill of Discovery can be utilized for a number of reasons.  For example, in a recently filed case a company had its computer system hacked.  Someone, then currently unknow, was able to access the company’s bank account electronically and directed the company’s bank to send two wire transfers to two seperate bank account created, by unknown parties, at a nationwide banking institution.  Both the company’s bank and the bank that received the funds into these third party accounts refused to provide, to the company, any of the written communications between the banks relative to this matter and the receiving bank has refused to provide any information to the company about who ownes the accounts that received the funds.  Hence, the necessity of filing a Pure Bill of Discovery so that this information can be discovered and acted upon by the company.  Obviously, time is of the essence in this type of circumstance.

A suit for discovery is initiated by a party filiing a “Complaint For Pure Bill Of Discovery” with either the county or circuit court as appropriate.  The complaint should allege the following: (1) the matters concerning which the discovery asked for is sought; (2) the interests of the several parties in the subject of the inquiry; (3) the complainant’s right to have the relief prayed, its title and interest and what the relationship of the same is to the discovery claimed and that the discovery so attempted to be had is material to the complainant’s rightss that have been duly brought into litigation on the common-law side of the couurt under circumstnaces that entitle the complainant to a disclosure of what is necessary to maintain its own claim in that litigation, and not that of the defendant in the case.  If the Complaint is granted, then the plaintiff, in this case the comapny, can ask the court for leave to conduct discovery using any of the methods allowed by the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure.

Please keep in mind that the above information is being provided for educational purposes only.  It is not designed to be complete in all material respects.  If you have any questions concerning the contents of this post you should contact a qualified professional. 

The purpose of this post is to raise investor awareness concerning phony Certificates of Deposits (CDs) promoted through internet advertising and “spoofed” websites – websites that mimic the actual sites of legitimate financial instructions. Investors should be extremely cautious when purchasing CDs from sites found only though internet searches. Please keep in mind that this information is being provided for educational purposes only. It is not designed to be complete in all material respects. Thus, if you have any questions concerning the contents hereof, you should contact a qualified attorney.

“Spoofed” websites – often using URL addresses similar to those of legitimate firms’ websites, or using legitimate-sounding names and URLs – may be used to trick investors into buying bogus CDs. Spoofed websites selling fake CDs often have red flags of fraud. They may:

• Offer interest rates higher than you can find at any other financial institution, with no penalties for early withdrawals;

In examining the concept of justifiable reliance, the Florida Supreme Court opined that the question is whether the recipient of a misrepresentation or omission is justified in relying upon its truth. For if the recipient “knows that it [the statement] or [omission] is false or its falsity is obvious to him/her, his/her reliance is improper, and there can be no cause of action for fraudulent misrepresentation.  This is particularly important in circumstances where the misrepresentation or omission is subsequently referenced in a written contract.  In such a circumstance, the Court has determined that notwithstanding oral misrepresentations prior to the making of a contract, a party cannot establish justifiable reliance and “may not recover in fraud for an alleged false statement when proper disclosure of the truth is subsequently revealed in a written agreement between the parties.

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With extensive courtroom, arbitration and mediation experience and an in-depth understanding of elder abuse, exploitation and securities law, our firm provides all of our clients with the personal service they deserve. Handling cases worth $25,000 or more, we represent clients throughout Florida and across the United States, as well as for foreign individuals that invested in U.S. banks or brokerage firms. Contact us to arrange your free initial consultation.

In Florida, the essential elements to establish a claim for fraudulent inducement are: (1) a false statement of material fact; (2) the maker of the false statement knew or should have known of the falsity of the statement; (3) the maker intended that the false statement induce another’s reliance; and (4) the other party justifiably relied on the false statement to its detriment.

Please keep in mind that this information if being provided for educational purposes only and is not designed to be complete in all material respects. If you have any questions, you should contact a qualified attorney.

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SEC Charges Unregistered Sales Agent for Improperly Soliciting Investments in Oil and Gas Ventures

Securities and Exchange Commission v. Chad Anthony Lewis, No. 18-cv-61869 (S.D. Fla. filed August 13, 2018)

On August 13, 2018, the Securities and Exchange Commission filed a civil injunctive action against Chad Anthony Lewis, a Kentucky resident for unlawfully acting as an unregistered broker and selling unregistered investments in two oil and gas companies based in Texas.

SEC Charges Florida Cash Advance Company, Former CEO with Defrauding Thousands of Retail Investors

Securities and Exchange Commission v. 1 Global Capital, LLC, Carl Ruderman, et al., No. 18-civ-61991 (S.D. Fla. filed August 23, 2018)

The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced charges against 1 Global Capital LLC and its former chief executive officer for allegedly defrauding at least 3,400 retail investors, more than one-third of whom invested their retirement funds. The Florida-based cash advance company and former CEO Carl Ruderman allegedly fraudulently raised more than $287 million since 2014 in unregistered securities sold through a network that included barred brokers.

SEC Charges Two Kentucky Men in Oil-And-Gas Offering Fraud

SEC v. Scott Stacy Phelps and James Michael Harper, United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky (Bowling Green), Case No. 1:18-cv-122

On August 30, 2018, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged two Bowling Green, Kentucky-area men with defrauding investors in oil-and-gas securities offerings. The SEC’s complaint, filed in federal court in Bowling Green, Kentucky, alleges that Scott Stacy Phelps and James Michael Harper raised approximately $611,000 by selling securities to nine investors between February 2015 and March 2016. Although they told prospective investors that the investment proceeds would be used to drill for oil in Kentucky, the main goal of the offering was to enrich Phelps and Harper. They spent the vast majority of the investor funds on themselves and their families, paying themselves generous six-figure salaries, and using the investor funds for rent, vacations, consumer goods, dating and adult websites, entertainment, golf, and hotels. They used a small amount to drill two wells. Neither well was commercially viable. Despite knowing this, the complaint alleges that Defendants continued soliciting additional funds from investors, purportedly to drill for oil in both wells.

EFG Capital International Corp. – Failure to Supervise – South Florida, including Boca Raton, Lake Worth, Deerfield Beach, Boynton Beach and West Palm Beach, FINRA Arbitration Attorney

EFG Capital International Corp. (CRD #40118, Miami, Florida)

Recently, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority announced that EFG Capital International Corp. entered into an Acceptance, Waiver and Consent in which the firm was censured, fined $800,000 and required to adopt and implement supervisory systems and written procedures reasonably designed to achieve compliance with the requirements of FINRA Rule 3110. Without admitting or denying the findings, the firm consented to the sanctions and to the entry of findings that it failed to establish and implement an adequate supervisory system, including WSPs, or anti-money laundering (AML) program related to two material areas of its international business model. The findings stated that the firm did not adequately assess, supervise or mitigate the business risks associated with its payment of transaction-based compensation to non-registered individuals or entities, and potentially suspicious outgoing wire transfer activity occurring in accounts of dual customers of the firm and its Swiss bank affiliate. The findings also stated that as part of its international business model, the firm entered into transaction referral agreements under which a foreign individual or entity, called a “foreign introducer,” referred specific transactions to the firm in exchange for a percentage of the firm’s mark-up or commission on the referred transactions. However, the firm’s supervisory system was unreasonable because it failed to assess whether it had sufficient information about the foreign introducer, or its ability to legally satisfy its obligations under an agreement, to conclude that the firm’s payment of transaction-based compensation to the foreign introducer was permissible under U.S. law.

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