Articles Posted in REITs

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority has barred Jeffrey Palish, an ex-Wells Fargo (WFC) broker in the wake of allegations of senior investor fraud. The regulator is accusing him of stealing over $180K from an elderly client with no plans or means of paying her back.

Palish was let go by the firm last year after an internal probe found that he had made misstatements about these transactions. He was arrested last week in New Jersey and charged with theft by deception involving over $75K.

According to prosecutors, Parish may have stolen at least $600K from elderly clients and failed to pay back a $100K loan from two clients. reports that Palish took clients’ money by selling their stock holdings and putting the funds from those sales into a bank account in which he deposited checks from clients. He also is accused of making more than three dozen unauthorized wire transfers of about $300K in total to pay his credit card bills.

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SEC Accuses Atlanta Man of Misusing Over $1.2M in Investor Funds

In an enforcement action, the US Securities and Exchange Commission is accusing Timothy S. Batchelor of misusing over $1.2M in investor monies. The funds were supposed to go toward the development of a submarine vessel and to businesses involved in national security.

According to the regulator’s complaint, of the $2.4M that Batchelor raised from investors through the Specter Ventures Fund II, he improperly spent half of the money, including almost $250K to buy new cars and about $225K to cover student loans. He allegedly moved thousands of dollars in investor monies to his own relatives. Batchelor also is accused of trying to conceal his actions by faking a document that misrepresented unauthorized expenditures as a loan.

The United Development Funding, a beleaguered Texas real estate investment trust accused of running a $1B Ponzi-like scam, is suing a hedge fund manager for the allegedly “false and disparaging” statements that led to the fraud allegations. The REIT came under fire two years ago after an investor website issued a report accusing UDF IV of being run like a Ponzi scam. For the last two years, our Texas securities fraud lawyers at Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas LTD, LLP has been fielding calls from investors who suspect they may have suffered financial losses from investing in UDF Funds.

According to UDF’s complaint, filed in Dallas County, hedge fund manager Kyle Bass and his Hayman Capital Management are the ones that anonymously published the Ponzi allegations online and then later on a proprietary site. They allegedly did this to damage the UDF Funds.

In its filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission about the complaint, the REIT accused the defendants of engaging in “false and disparaging statements,” including that: the UDF Funds were part of a Ponzi fraud, they were unable to run their own business, had insolvency problems that made their shares “worthless,” their real estate developments that were “not genuine,” and they “misappropriated” investors’ funds. The filing countered that the UDF Funds were “successful” and had actual real estate developments. The REIT claims that because Bass had set up a “large short position” in the Texas REIT before publishing the false allegations, he and his company “profited” from the damages wreaked by their claims.

Bass had a short position in the REIT. Once he disclosed this news, United Development Funding shares plunged in price. In response to this lawsuit, the hedge fund manager claims it is meritless.

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Wyoming Investment Manager Indicted for Allegedly Bilking Retired Investor
Tyris D. Maxey has been indicted on multiple counts of wire fraud and he was arrested this week. Maxey, a Wyoming investment manager, owns RB Mister Enterprises LLC. He allegedly convinced a retired school teacher to give him about $950K to invest and then using almost all of the funds on his own expenses.

Meantime, any investments he made with the investor’s money experienced “heavy losses.” Funds that he gave to the investor, which he claimed were returns, were actually the same funds that the teacher had given him to invest.

Maxey pleaded not guilty to the criminal charges of financial fraud.

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Texas First Financial CEO is Arrested For Fraud

Authorities have arrested Bobby Eugene Guess, an ex-Texas-based registered representative and the CEO and founder of Texas First Financial, for financial fraud. Guess promoted himself as a financial expert through financial seminars and radio promotions in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

He is accused of running a Ponzi scam online involving two companies—StaMedia Inc., which is a Dallas company, and TenList Inc. According to the Texas State Securities Board, Guess was indicted for money laundering, securities fraud, theft, and taking part in organized criminal activity involving the multi-million-dollar sales of investments in an internet ad company.

Prosecutors contend that Guess and others sold $6M in investment contracts, stock certificates, and notes in Stamedia Inc. Also, he allegedly raised millions of dollars from Stamedia investors from ’14 to ’16 but did not disclose that the company’s net income and revenue were negligible. Investor funds were allegedly used to pay earlier investors the returns they were promised.

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United Development Funding IV, a Texas real estate investment trust,  said that it has received a Wells Notice from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. This is a sign that the regulator’s staff will likely recommend an enforcement action against the mortgage and development REIT.  There are individuals connected to the company and its adviser that also received SEC Wells notices.

The UDF REITs have been in trouble for months now, ever since Harvest Exchange, a hedge fund that had a short position in UDV IV shares, published a report  about how it believes the company has been run like a Ponzi scam for years. Harvest Exchange claimed that the REIT utilized new capital to pay current investors their distributions, while providing earlier UDF companies hefty liquidity in order to pay earlier investors. The hedge fund noted the earlier companies do not appear to be able to stand on their own without this liquidity from the latest UDF REITs.

UDF IV not only denied the hedge fund’s claims, but also it filed a complaint with the SEC claiming it had been the victim of a securities trading scam in which an investor was building a short stock position to illegally manipulate its shares.

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The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is ordering WFG Advisors to pay a $100K penalty for charging clients too much on their investments business development companies and real estate investment trusts. The Dallas-based firm is the registered investment advisory arm of Williams Finance Group.

According to the regulator, the purported overcharges took place from 1/11 through 8/13. The SEC claims that WFG Advisors had policies and procedures that were inadequate, which kept it from identifying and stopping incidents of overcharging. Because of these inadequacies, including what the regulator considered a lack of technological capabilities, 35 accounts were collectively overcharged $34,640.63 in advisory fees.

The Commission said client’s in the firm’s wrap account program were told that they would be charged a commission to buy alternative investment product interests, including interests in BDCs and REITs. However, there wasn’t supposed to be an advisory fee. Instead, said the Commission, WFG Advisors charged both a commission and an advisory fee. (Forms submitted to the regulator included false statements saying that wrap program participants would not have to pay commissions for transactions that took place in their accounts.)

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According to InvestmentNews, a number of independent broker-dealers could find themselves in legal hot waters, should investors decide to pursue them through arbitration for selling UDF real estate investment trusts. United Development Funding is under investigation over allegations that the UDF IV was run for years like a Ponzi scam. UDF IV was initially a nontraded real estate investment trust that later became listed as a publicly traded REIT.

The article goes on to name four firms that sold the UDF REITs or private deals to investors: Financial Services Inc., Berthel Fisher & Co., VSR Financial Services Inc., and Centaurus Financial Inc. Other firms also have sold UDF REITs to investors.

The allegations against UDF first surfaced in December in an anonymous post published on Harvest Exchange, an investor website. Among the accusations: that the UDF umbrella demonstrated traits “emblematic” of a Ponzi scam; new capital was used pay existing investors; and newer UDF companies were giving liquidity to earlier UDF companies to pay earlier investors. Noting that a hedge fund had created a short position in UDF IV shares, the company accused the fund of trying to illegally profit by depressing and manipulating UDV IV’s share price.

Recently, J. Kyle Bass of Hayman Capital also published a website about the allegations. On the site, Bass acknowledged that Hayman maintains a short position in UDV IV common stock.
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Former Broker Is Subject of Numerous Securities Claims
If you are an investor who sustained losses after purchased real estate investments trusts with the help of former broker Jerry McCutchen, you may have grounds for a securities claim. According to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s BrokerCheck Report, McCutchen is accused of making unsuitable investment recommendations and he has been the subject of over a dozen broker fraud claims alleging negligence, misrepresentations, and other claims.

In one case, McCutchen, while registered with Berthel Fisher & Company Financial Services, Inc., is accused of placing a couple’s retirement funds in speculative, illiquid, alternative investments that he misrepresented as safe investments in line with the husband and wife’s investment goal to keep their money safe. In reality the Tier REIT, the Icon Leasing Fund Twelve LLC, and others, did not have proper diversity or allocation and were not suitable for the couple.

McCutchen is not registered with any firm at this time nor is he a licensed broker at the moment. He was registered with Berthel Fisher & Co., Bay City Securities, Next Financial Group, First Funds Inc., FSC Securities Corp, Central Brokerage Services, Commonwealth Equity Services, MML Investors, Proequities Inc., and Walnut Street Securities.

NY Hedge Fund Manager Ordered to Pay $18M
Moazzam “Mark” Malik, and his American Bridge Investment Group LLC are facing SEC charges accusing them of bilking 19 clients of over $1M through the sale of limited partnership interests in a fake hedge fund that was run under different names. The SEC said that Malik claimed that the fund held $100M when that amount was never more than about $90,000. Now, the regulator is ordering Malik to pay $18M.
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J. Kyle Bass, the hedge fund manager who runs the Dallas-based Hayman Capital, has set up a website accusing Texas-based REIT United Development Funding IV of running a Ponzi-like real estate scam. On the site, Bass published a letter to readers, claiming that his firm had conducted research and found that the nontraded real estate investment trust displayed characteristics in line with a billion-dollar Ponzi scheme.

Bass contends that UDF used money from a public affiliate to rescue its first fund. According to Business Insider, Bass also claims that UDF management has been distorting its poor track record and the financial state of its affiliates going as far back as the financial crisis. He alleges that UDF has been taking advantage of retail investors and using UDF- controlled entities and real estate backed loans to conceal the fact that new investors money is b used to pay existing investors.
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