Texas Securities Fraud: Unregistered Adviser Confesses to Selling Almost $400K in Promissory Notes and Investments Despite Cease and Desist Order

William Erik Byrne, who is unregistered securities advisor, admits that he sold $389,000 in investment and promissory notes to investors even after he received a cease and desist order from the Texas State Securities Board in 2005. He also is accused of giving out investment advice to clients even though he was not authorized.

State regulators also filed a Texas securities complaint against Byrne for selling unregistered variable annuities from Hampton Insurance Co. Ltd. Not only were none of the VAs were filed with the Texas Department of Insurance, but also, Hampton Insurance was not under that department’s supervision.

Byrn says that between 2006 and 2009 he sold investments to clients without telling them that Texas regulators had ordered him to stop or why. State officials also say that Byrne failed to tell investors that previous clients hadn’t been paid according to the terms of their contracts.

Working with a Registered Adviser
State and federal laws require that investment advisers and broker-dealers and their representatives be registered. Registration is usually with a state securities agency or the Securities and Exchange Commission. Unfortunately, there are those that don’t follow this requirement and try to get away with this.

As an investor, you want to make sure that the representative and/or financial firm you want to work with is registered. Otherwise, if there is a problem later on, such as a broker-dealer or investment adviser going out of business, there may not be a way for you to recoup your losses even if a court or arbitrator rules in your favor.

You should also do your own research. You can find out whether an investment adviser is correctly registered by reading its Form ADV registration form. This form also should let you know whether the investment adviser has had any previous run-ins with regulators or past problems with other clients.

Unregistered and Registered Securities
Although it is typically illegal to sell unregistered securities, there are exemptions. You can get Form ADV from the investment adviser, the regulatory body the adviser is registered with, or by going to the Investment Adviser Public Disclosure Web site.

Read the Enforcement Actions Against Byrne

Rule 144: Selling Restricted and Control Securities, SEC
Texas State Securities Board

Investment Adviser Public Disclosure Web

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Former Texan and First Capital Savings and Loan To Pay $4.5M for Alleged Foreign Currency Ponzi Scheme, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, November 11, 2011
Texas Securities Fraud: SEC Moves to Freeze Assets of Stewardship Fund LP, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, November 5, 2011
Our Texas securities fraud law firm represents investors throughout the state that have sustained financial losses because of investment adviser and broker-dealer misconduct. Our stockbroker fraud attorneys know the toll losing your investment can create in your life.