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Pension Purchase Agreements; The worst "investment" in the world?

In recent years, platforms for buying and selling pension benefit payments have been created and gained traction. Voyager Financial Group (VFG) operated one of the largest and most active exchanges for buying and selling pension payments. There is limited information available on the size of this market because these firms have operated under the radar of securities regulators.

In pension benefit agreements, a pensioner agrees to turn over a specific number of their future pension benefit...

Enforcement Actions: Week in Review - September 21st, 2015

SEC ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS

SEC Obtains $30 Million from Traders who Profited on Hacked News Releases
September 14, 2015 (Litigation Release No. 191)
Ukrainian-based firm Jaspen Capital Partners and their CEO Andriy Supranonok have agreed to settle charges that they profited off of hacked, nonpublic information. The SEC have charged 34 people in a scheme that allegedly hacked into newswire services and transmitted the stolen data to international traders. The traders allegedly generated over...

Enforcement Actions: Week in Review - September 5th, 2015

SEC ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS

SEC Halts Ongoing Fraud in Minnesota
September 2, 2015 (Litigation Release No. 176)
James M. Louks and FiberPop Solutions Inc. are being charged with fraud and are being ordered to stop raising money from investors. Fiberpop was founded in 2003 as a builder and operator of fiber optic networks and data centers. The SEC alleges that although almost 100 investors were convinced to purchase notes to fund the company's business, Fiberpop has no operators or employees....

Enforcement Actions: Week in Review - August 28th, 2015

SEC ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS

SEC Announces Asset Freeze against Alleged EB-5 Fraudster in Seattle Area
August 25, 2015 (Litigation Release No. 173)
Lobsang Dargey, owner of multiple "Path America" companies including Path America SnoCo and Path America KingCo, is accused of defrauding Chinese investors who were seeking American citizenship through the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Pilot Program. The EB-5 program states foreign citizens may qualify for U.S. residency if they make an investment of...

The Recent Market Turmoil Spells Trouble for "Auto-liquidators" like Interactive Brokers

Interactive Brokers Group, Inc. (IB) caters to active traders including those who trade futures and options. These active traders' accounts typically are subject to "portfolio margin" requirements which we have written about at length. 1 IB requires its customers to agree to have IB auto-liquidate positions when accounts are in a margin deficit.

IB's auto-liquidation procedures were the focus of a FINRA arbitration earlier this year in which the Claimant, Glen Lyon Long-Term Options, LP,...

UBS of Puerto Rico Continues to Wreak Havoc on Clients

In October 2014, UBS Puerto Rico settled with the Office of the Commissioner of Financial Institutions for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico ("OCFI") over UBS's lack of compliance and supervision as some brokers recommended some "mostly senior, low net worth investors with conservative investment profiles" use non-purpose loans to further concentrate their accounts in UBS PR closed-end bond funds. The UBS-OCFI settlement is available to view on our website.

As part of the settlement, UBS paid...

Why Citigroup Paid the SEC $180 Million Over MAT/ASTA

I. Introduction

This week Citigroup paid $180 million to the SEC to settle allegations that Citigroup improperly sold high risk hedge funds known as MAT, ASTA and Falcon. The SEC Order is available to view online.

The SEC Order makes clear that Citigroup did not effectively monitor the portfolio manager or the sales force as it sold billions of dollars of high risk MAT ASTA funds with false and misleading sales presentations. In the end, Citigroup lost hundreds of wealthy clients and likely...

Enforcement Actions: Week in Review - August 14th, 2015

SEC ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS

Guggenheim Partners Investment Management LLC Settles Charges it Failed to Disclose Conflict to Clients
August 10, 2015 (Litigation Release No. 162)
The SEC has announced that charges against Guggenheim Partners Investment Management LLC have been settled for $20 million. The charges were over a breach of fiduciary duty in which Guggenheim failed to disclose a $50 million loan that an advisory client had given to a senior Guggenheim executive. The SEC order found...

Enforcement Actions: Week in Review - August 10th, 2015

SEC ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS

SEC Charges Houston-Area Businessman in Ponzi Scheme
August 3, 2015 (Litigation Release No. 158)
Frederick Alan Voight, owner of F.A. Voight & Associates LP and DayStar Funding LP, has been charged with defrauding investors while operating a $114 million Ponzi scheme. As Ponzi scheme's tend to go, Voight's scheme was caught after he could not find enough new money to pay previous investors his promised 42% annual return rate. Recently, Voight raised $13.8 million...

Enforcement Actions: Week in Review - July 31st, 2015

SEC ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS

SEC Charges Three Penny Stock Promoters Behind Pump-and-Dump Schemes
July 21, 2015 (Litigation Release No. 152)
Former Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. employees: Scott A. Eisler, Arthur W. Lewis and Robert Okin, agreed to settle the SEC's charges involving unregistered sales of billions of shares of penny stocks on behalf of an Oppenheimer customer. Lewis and Okin failed to respond to red flags associated with sales that violated the federal securities laws and allowed...

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