The Securities and Exchange Commission and the US Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn are charging Eric Butler and Julian Tzolov, two ex-Credit Suisse brokers, with coming up with an auction-rate securities scam to mislead customers and increase their commissions. The fraud and conspiracy charges relate to the alleged deceptive sales of subprime-related auction-rate debt, and charges include violation of Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5. The SEC is seeking permanent injunctive relief, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, civil money penalties, and prejudgment interest.
Butler and Tzolov are accused of deceiving customers into thinking that ARS were backed by federally guaranteed securities loans that were a safe and liquid investment choice when, in fact, the securities that the men bought for clients were backed by collateralized debt obligations, subprime mortgages, and other non-student loan collateral.
The SEC says ARS scam resulted in clients purchasing over $1 billion in subprime-related securities. According to the complaint, Butler and Tzolov sent out e-mail confirmations to foreign corporate customers with short-term cash management accounts that included the terms “Education” and “St. Loan” added to the names of securities that were not related to student loans. The terms “Mortgage” and “CDO” were deleted from the emails.
As a result, investors were left holding over $800 million in illiquid securities once the market started to collapse. The value of their ARS have dropped significantly since then.
Credit Suisse says it is working with authorities on the case. The investment bank says it suspended the two men after they found out they were involved in prohibited activities. The SEC investigation is part of a larger probe into whether potential market manipulation, fraud, and breaches of fiduciary duty played a role in the problems the credit markets are experiencing.
Related Web Resources:
Ex-Credit Suisse Brokers Charged With Subprime, Bloomberg.com, September 3, 2008
SEC Charges Two Wall Street Brokers in $1 Billion Subprime-Related Auction Rate Securities Fraud, SEC, September 3, 2008
Read the SEC Complaint (PDF)
Contact Shepherd Smith Edwards & Kantas LTD LLP today.