Indiana Accuses Stifel Nicolaus & Co. of Auction Rate Securities Fraud

The Indiana Secretary of State’s Office filed an administrative complaint today accusing Stifel Nicolaus & Co.’s local office of securities fraud, failing to properly train members of its sales team, and failing to disclose risks associated with purchasing auction-rate securities. As a result, some 141 Hoosiers who had invested $54.0 million sustained losses when the ARS market fell apart last year and their securities were frozen.

92 of the ARS investors who were affected were Jeffrey Cohen’s clients. Cohen is the local Stifel office’s managing director. His clients had invested $45 million.

For violating the Indiana Securities Act, the broker-dealer could be ordered to pay a $10,000 fine/violation, as well as restitution to the securities fraud victims. Other states, including Colorado and Missouri, have made similar charges against Stifel Nicolaus.

Colorado’s securities regulator also filed its auction-rate securities complaint against Stifel Nicolaus today alleging that the broker-dealer failed to fully inform local investors about ARS risks. The securities fraud lawsuit also accuses the broker-dealer of violating the Colorado Securities Act, misrepresenting ARS as short-term investments that were liquid, and providing clients with unsuitable recommendations.

Missouri’s complaint, filed in March by Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, claims that over 1,200 investors suffered losses when ARS worth $180 million were frozen.

Auction-Rate Securities
Many investors throughout the US were shocked to discover that the ARS they had purchased were not, as broker-dealers had told them, investments that were liquid like cash. Our stockbroker fraud law firm continues to work diligently with many ARS clients to recover their investments.

Related Web Resources:
Local Stifel office accused of securities fraud, IBJ, October 1, 2009
Colorado charges Stifel unit with ARS sales fraud, Reuters, October 1, 2009
Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan sues Stifel Nicolaus, Daily Record, March 13, 2009
Please contact Shepherd Smith Edwards & Kantas LTD LLP and ask to speak with one of our experienced securities fraud lawyers.

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