This month, the US Securities and Exchange Commission filed a civil lawsuit against five World Group Securities brokers for allegedly pushing investors into refinancing their homes with subprime mortgages. The SEC is accusing the mortgage brokers of taking advantage of the clients’ lack of education, modest financial means, and poor fluency in English to fraudulently sell them unsuitable securities-primarily variable universal life policies.
Because most of the investors who were persuaded to purchase the securities lacked the funds or income to do so, the defendants allegedly persuaded them to come up with the money through the refinancing of their fixed-rate mortgages into subprime adjustable-rate negative amortization mortgages. The brokers received compensation from the securities sale and the mortgage refinancings.
The defendants in the case are Guillermo Haro, Jesus Gutierrez Kederio Ainsworth, Angel Romo, and Gabriel Paredes. The Commission says that the brokers violated the antifraud provisions of the securities laws.
The SEC says the men misrepresented the returns the investors would get back from the securities, the nature and liquidity of the variable universal life policies, and the new mortgages’ terms, as well as failed to reveal key facts to the investors. The Commision’s complaint also accuses the brokers of falsifying customer account forms and placing inaccurate securities sales information on order tickets.
The SEC calls the men’s actions and their willingness to allow their clients to risk the potential loss of their homes “egregious” conduct that will not be tolerated. The Commission is seeking disgorgement, injunctions, and financial fines against the defendants.
If you are a victim of investor fraud, it is important that you find out about the legal remedies available to you.
Commission Charges Five Registered Representatives with Fraudulent Sales of Unsuitable Securities Funded Through Subprime Mortgage Refinancings, SEC, October 3, 2008
World Group Securities brokers charged with fraud, Bizjournals.com, October 13, 2008
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