Texas Adviser Barred by State Over Fraudulent Life Settlement Sales

Fort Worth-based investment adviser James Poe has been barred by the Texas State Securities Board from serving as a financial representative or broker in the state. According to the Board, Poe engaged in fraudulent sales practices involving life settlements.This is Texas securities fraud.

The Texas adviser, who is the president of Jim Poe & Associates, Inc., was the recipient of undisclosed payments through International Alternatives PR, which he also owns. The state says that firm consulted on life insurance policy selections and represented activity that was fraudulent.

Poe is also accused of getting paid 10% commission for product sales from ’11 to ’15 even though he was an unregistered agent at the firm. Such payments would be a violation of Texas law. During that period he purportedly recommended investments to certain individuals, who were promised a 75% return. What these investors didn’t know is that in addition to paying for the policy and its premiums, the “associated costs” they agreed to take on included the 10% commission to Poe and undisclosed payments (20% of what they invested) to International Alternatives PR, which consulted and identified which policies to choose.

The Texas State Securities Board’s order said that failure to disclose that 20% of what investors paid went to the firm, which Poe owned, was a failure by the firm to disclose material facts and that this type of activity was fraudulent. The state said that seeing as 30% of investor money went to Poe and his company, this posed a material risk to what an investor could potentially make.

Investors of life settlements purchase unwanted life insurance policies, pay the seller’s policy premiums, and are entitled to the death benefit when that insured individual passes away. The seller gets more than the cash surrender value of the policy but not as much as the net death benefit.

In another Texas securities case, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced earlier this month that Uni-Pixel, which develops touchscreen device technologies, has consented to pay $750K to resolve charges accusing it of misleading investors about sales agreements and production status involving key product. Two of its former executives also face related charges.

The SEC contends that Uni-Pixel claimed that its touchscreen sensor product was in the fast, high-volume commercial production phase, when, in reality just a few samples had been produced. Because of the misrepresenations, Uni-Pixel’s stock price more than doubled. This allowed former CFO Jeffrey Tomz and former CEO Reed Killion to make over $2M from selling their shares even though they allegedly knew the statements issued by Uni-Pixel were false.

Also, former Uni-Pixel board chairman Bernard Marren has reached a deferred prosecution deal in the case. The agreement obligates him to cooperate with the SEC. Marren has agreed to be barred for five years from serving as a director or officer.

Our Texas securities fraud law firm represents investors seeking to get their money back. Contact Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas, LTD LLP today.

Read the order in the Poe case (PDF)

Read the SEC complaint in the Uni-Pixel case (PDF)