Ameriprise Must Pay $17 Million for REIT Fraud

The US Securities and Exchange Commission says Ameriprise Financial Services has consented to pay $17.3 million to settle allegations that it received millions of dollars in undisclosed compensation in exchange for selling certain REITs (real estate investment trusts) to its brokerage customers.

The SEC says Ameriprise demanded and got “revenue sharing” payments to sell the REITs but neglected to disclose it was receiving the payments. The SEC is also accusing Ameriprise of violating a number of federal securities laws when it sold over $100 million in unregistered shares involving one specific REIT.

SEC Enforcement Director Robert Khumazi says the broker-dealer’s clients were not told that brokers had incentives to sell the REITs. He stressed the importance of investors being able to rely on unbiased advice from financial advisers.

The SEC charges come from REITs sales that took place between 2000 and May 2004. CNL Holdings Group, Inc. and W.P. Carey & Co. LLC created, advised, and managed the REITs named in the proceedings.

By agreeing to settle, Ameriprise is not admitting to or denying wrongdoing.

Shepherd Smith Edwards & Kantas LTD LLP represents Ameriprise investors with securities fraud cases against the broker-dealer. Stockbroker fraud attorney and firm founder William Shepherd says “Our law firm handles claims of all types for investors nationwide who lost in accounts at Ameriprise and other financial firms. Over 90% of our clients recover all or part of their losses. It is sad that many investors choose not to seek recovery from investment firms that commit fraud or and other wrongdoing. We offer a free consultation and most of our clients advance no fees or costs but instead pay these out of their recovery.”

Related Web Resources:
Ameriprise Pays $17.3M To Settle SEC Charges, Wall Street Journal, July 10, 2009
REITs, Investopedia
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