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Oil and Gas Offering Fraud - Fraudulent Stock Manipulation - False and Misleading Press Releases

Boca Raton, Florida - Oil and Gas Offering Fraud - Fraudulent Stock Manipulation - False and Misleading Press Releases

SEC Charges New Orleans Oil-And-Gas Company with Fraudulent Stock Manipulation

Securities and Exchange Commission v. Treaty Energy Corporation, et al., Civil Action No. 4:14-cv-00812 (E.D. Tex., filed December 15, 2014)

The Securities and Exchange Commission recently charged a New Orleans-based oil-and-gas company and five executives with running a stock trading scheme in which they claimed to have struck oil in Belize in order to manipulate the price of the company's stock as they illegally sold restricted shares to the public.

The SEC also charged a Houston-based attorney with facilitating the scheme by issuing false legal opinion letters that allowed free trading of the restricted company stock.

According to the SEC's complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Treaty Energy Corporation issued deceptive press releases touting drilling successes in Belize and Texas to induce investor demand for its unregistered stock, which was then illegally distributed to the public. The SEC alleges that Treaty Energy's founder Ronald Blackburn and four company officers - Andrew V. Reid, Bruce A. Gwyn, Lee C. Schlesinger, and Michael A. Mulshine - obtained at least $3.5 million in illicit profits from the scheme.

The SEC's complaint further alleges that Treaty Energy's outside counsel Samuel Whitley abused his gatekeeper role and enabled the scheme by authoring improper legal opinion letters that allowed the company and its officers to illegally distribute unregistered stock to the public. Whitley was aware that Blackburn was running the company and Treaty Energy was abusing registration rules under the federal securities laws. Yet these facts did not deter him from issuing the opinion letters that allowed the scheme to proceed.

According to the SEC's complaint, the scheme had three basic components. The first part began in January 2012 when Blackburn directed Treaty Energy to issue a press release claiming that its purported oil strike in Belize contained an estimated five to six million barrels of recoverable oil. Treaty's stock price shot up nearly 80 percent that day. However, the Belize government publicly refuted Treaty Energy's purported oil strike the very next day, calling the company's statement "false and misleading" and "irresponsible." The SEC alleges that despite Belize's denial, Blackburn and the company's officers continued to mislead investors by claiming that Belize was merely downplaying an actual oil strike for strategic reasons.

The SEC alleges that the second part of the scheme entailed Treaty Energy's failure to disclose in public filings from 2009 to 2013 that Blackburn - previously convicted of federal income tax evasion - actually controlled the company and was a de facto officer. The SEC alleges that Reid, Gwyn, Schlesinger, and Mulshine all knew Blackburn's true role at the company, but intentionally kept this fact out of its disclosures to conceal from the public that a convicted felon was in charge.

According to the SEC's complaint, the final part of the scheme got underway in November 2013 when Treaty Energy began offering investors working interests in a well in West Texas. Investors were enticed with claims that the working interests were low-risk and expected to yield a return of 111.42 percent over a 10-year period. The SEC alleges that Treaty Energy and its officers knew these claims were baseless because the well was producing only marginal amounts of oil. In fact, the well produced 235 total barrels from October 2013 to October 2014.

The SEC's complaint charges Treaty Energy, Blackburn, Reid, Gwyn, Mulshine, and Schlesinger with securities fraud as well as violations of the registration and reporting violations of the federal securities laws. The SEC seeks disgorgement of ill-gotten gains with prejudgment interest plus financial penalties as well as penny stock bars, officer-and-director bars, and permanent injunctions against them. Reid and Gwyn are additionally charged with signing false certifications in Treaty Energy's SEC filings, and Whitley is accused of securities registration violations.

Contact Us:

With extensive courtroom, arbitration and mediation experience and an in-depth understanding of elder abuse, exploitation and securities law, our firm provides all of our clients with the personal service they deserve. Handling cases worth $25,000 or more, we represent clients throughout Florida and across the United States, as well as for foreign individuals that invested in U.S. banks or brokerage firms. Contact us to arrange your free initial consultation.

At the Boca Raton Law Office of Russell L. Forkey, we represent clients throughout South and Central Florida, including Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Sunrise, Plantation, Coral Springs, Deerfield Beach, Pompano Beach, Delray, Boynton Beach, Hollywood, Lake Worth, Royal Palm Beach, Manalapan, Jupiter, Gulf Stream, Wellington, Fort Pierce, Stuart, Palm City, Jupiter, Miami, Orlando, Maitland, Winter Park, Altamonte Springs, Lake Mary, Heathrow, Melbourne, Palm Bay, Cocoa Beach, Vero Beach, Daytona Beach, Deland, New Smyrna Beach, Ormand Beach, Broward County, Palm Beach County, Dade County, Orange County, Seminole County, Martin County, Brevard County, Indian River County, Volusia County and Monroe County, Florida. The law office of Russell L. Forkey also represents South American, Canadian and other foreign residents that do business with U.S. financial institutions, investment advisors, brokerage and precious metal firms.

Boca Raton, Florida Investment and Securities Fraud Litigation and Arbitration Attorney

Boca Raton, Florida Hedge Fund, Securities and Investment Fraud and Breach of Fiduciary Duty Litigation and Arbitration Attorney:

SEC Announces Fraud Charges Against Buffalo-Based Firm and Co-Owners Accused of Misleading Investors in Hedge Fund

Hedge Fund's Portfolio Manager Agrees to Settle Charges

The Securities and Exchange Commission recently announced fraud charges against a Buffalo, N.Y. based investment advisory firm and two co-owners accused of making false and misleading statements to clients when recommending investments in a risky hedge fund. The hedge fund's portfolio manager agreed to settle similar charges.

The SEC's Enforcement Division alleges that Timothy S. Dembski and Walter F. Grenda Jr. steered their clients at Reliance Financial Advisors to invest in a hedge fund managed by Scott M. Stephan, whose experience in the securities industry was greatly exaggerated in offering materials they disseminated. Dembski and Grenda allegedly knew that Stephan had virtually no hedge fund investing experience at all, and spent the majority of his career collecting on past-due car loans. Nevertheless, highly speculative investments in the Prestige Wealth Management Fund were recommended to clients who were retired or nearing retirement and living on fixed incomes. The trading strategy that was allegedly described to investors was fully automated by an algorithm purportedly sought by big banks. The trading algorithm, however, did not work as intended and Stephan began placing trades manually, which led to the hedge fund's eventual collapse.

According to the order instituting a proceeding before an administrative law judge, Dembski's clients invested approximately $4 million in Prestige Wealth Management Fund and Grenda's clients invested approximately $8 million. The hedge fund, which began trading in April 2011, did not generate the positive returns advertised, so Grenda withdrew his clients in October 2012. The fund lost about 80 percent of its value when it collapsed a couple months later, leaving Dembski's clients to lose the vast majority of their investments.

The SEC's Enforcement Division further alleges that Grenda borrowed $175,000 from two clients in late 2009 and falsely told them that he would use it as a loan to grow his investment advisory business. Grenda instead spent the money on personal expenses and debts.

The SEC's Enforcement Division alleges that Dembski, Grenda, and Reliance Financial Advisors violated the antifraud provisions of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, Securities Act of 1933, and Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and that Dembski and Grenda aided and abetted and caused violations of those same provisions by Reliance Financial and the general partner to the Prestige Wealth Management Fund.

In a separate order, Stephan agreed to settle findings that he violated the antifraud provisions of the Advisers Act, Securities Act, and Exchange Act, and aided and abetted and caused violations of those same provisions by the general partner to the Prestige Wealth Management Fund. Without admitting or denying the allegations, Stephan agreed to be permanently barred from the securities industry. Disgorgement and penalties will be determined at a later date.

Contact Us:

With extensive courtroom, arbitration and mediation experience and an in-depth understanding of elder abuse, exploitation and securities law, our firm provides all of our clients with the personal service they deserve. Handling cases worth $25,000 or more, we represent clients throughout Florida and across the United States, as well as for foreign individuals that invested in U.S. banks or brokerage firms. Contact us to arrange your free initial consultation.

At the Boca Raton Law Office of Russell L. Forkey, we represent clients throughout South and Central Florida, including Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Sunrise, Plantation, Coral Springs, Deerfield Beach, Pompano Beach, Delray, Boynton Beach, Hollywood, Lake Worth, Royal Palm Beach, Manalapan, Jupiter, Gulf Stream, Wellington, Fort Pierce, Stuart, Palm City, Jupiter, Miami, Orlando, Maitland, Winter Park, Altamonte Springs, Lake Mary, Heathrow, Melbourne, Palm Bay, Cocoa Beach, Vero Beach, Daytona Beach, Deland, New Smyrna Beach, Ormand Beach, Broward County, Palm Beach County, Dade County, Orange County, Seminole County, Martin County, Brevard County, Indian River County, Volusia County and Monroe County, Florida. The law office of Russell L. Forkey also represents South American, Canadian and other foreign residents that do business with U.S. financial institutions, investment advisors, brokerage and precious metal firms.

Fraudulent News Letters Used In Pump-and-Dump Schemes - Boca Raton, Florida Investment and Penny Stock Litigation Attorney

Fraudulent News Letters Used In Pump-and-Dump Schemes - Boca Raton, Florida Investment and Penny Stock Litigation Attorney

SEC Charges Three Penny Stock Promoters Behind Pump-and-Dump Schemes

The Securities and Exchange Commission recently charged three penny stock promoters with conducting pump-and-dump schemes involving stocks they were touting in their supposedly independent newsletters.

The SEC alleges that Anthony Thompson, Jay Fung, and Eric Van Nguyen worked in coordinated fashion to gain control of a large portion of shares in the stock of microcap companies and then hyped those stocks in newsletters they distributed to prospective investors. After creating demand for the stock and increasing the value, they sold their holdings at the higher prices and earned significant profits. Once they stopped their promotional efforts, the demand for the stocks subsided and the prices dropped, leaving investors who had purchased the promoters' shares with significant losses.

According to the SEC's complaint filed in federal court in Manhattan, the newsletters published by Thompson, Fung, and Van Nguyen misleadingly stated that they "may" or "might" sell shares they owned when in reality their intentions always were to sell the stocks they were promoting. In fact, in some instances they already were selling the stocks to which they were saying "may" or "might" sell. They also failed to fully disclose in their newsletters the amounts of compensation they were receiving for promoting the stocks, cloaking the fact that they were coordinating their promotion of the penny stocks to deliberately increase the prices and dump their own shares.

According to the SEC's complaint, the three promoters conducted five separate schemes that resulted in more than $10 million in ill-gotten gains. The penny stocks they manipulated were Blast Applications Inc., Smart Holdings Inc., Blue Gem Enterprise Inc., Lyric Jeans Inc., and Mass Hysteria Entertainment Company Inc. Thompson, who lives in Bethesda, Md., distributed several electronic penny stock promotion newsletters with such names as FreeInvestmentReport.com and OxofWallStreet.com. Fung, who resides in Delray Beach, Fla., distributed his newsletters at such websites as PennyPic.com, and Van Nguyen was typically based in Canada and distributed electronic penny stock promotion newsletters on such websites as UnrealStocks.com and InsanePicks.com.

The SEC's complaint names two relief defendants for the purposes of recovering money in their possession that resulted from the schemes. Thompson's wife Kendall Thompson received $200,000 in proceeds from one of the stock manipulation schemes. John Babikian, who operated a penny stock promotion business primarily from a website named AwesomePennyStocks.com, received $1 million as a result of one of the schemes. In a separate SEC case involving a different scheme, a court ordered $3.73 million in sanctions against Babikian.

The SEC's complaint charges Thompson, Fung, and Van Nguyen with violating the antifraud and anti-touting provisions of the federal securities laws and related rules. The SEC is seeking disgorgement of ill-gotten gains from the schemes plus prejudgment interest and penalties as well as permanent injunctions against further violations of the securities laws.

Thompson and Fung also were named in a separate SEC case for their roles in a Florida-based scheme in which they promoted a penny stock in their newsletters without adequately disclosing they were selling their shares in the same stock and receiving compensation for their promotional efforts. A court issued a final judgment requiring them to pay more than $1 million combined.

Rebalancing Your Asset Allocation Model - Boca Raton, Florida Investment Mismanagement Attorney

Rebalancing Your Asset Allocation Model - South Florida Investment Mismanagement FINRA Arbitration and Litigation Attorney:

Rebalancing:

Rebalancing is bringing your portfolio back to your original asset allocation mix. This is necessary because over time some of your investments may become out of alignment with your investment goals. You'll find that some of your investments will grow faster than others. By rebalancing, you'll ensure that your portfolio does not overemphasize one or more asset categories, and you'll return your portfolio to a comfortable level of risk.

For example, let's say you determined that stock investments should represent 60% of your portfolio. But after a recent stock market increase, stock investments represent 80% of your portfolio. You'll need to either sell some of your stock investments or purchase investments from an under-weighted asset category in order to reestablish your original asset allocation mix.

When you rebalance, you'll also need to review the investments within each asset allocation category. If any of these investments are out of alignment with your investment goals, you'll need to make changes to bring them back to their original allocation within the asset category.

There are basically three different ways you can rebalance your portfolio:

You can sell off investments from over-weighted asset categories and use the proceeds to purchase investments for under-weighted asset categories.

You can purchase new investments for under-weighted asset categories.

If you are making continuous contributions to the portfolio, you can alter your contributions so that more investments go to under-weighted asset categories until your portfolio is back into balance.

Before you rebalance your portfolio, you should consider whether the method of rebalancing you decide to use will trigger transaction fees or tax consequences. Your financial professional or tax adviser can help you identify ways that you can minimize these potential costs.

Stick with Your Plan: Buy Low, Sell High - Shifting money away from an asset category when it is doing well in favor an asset category that is doing poorly may not be easy, but it can be a wise move. By cutting back on the current "winners" and adding more of the current so-called "losers," rebalancing forces you to buy low and sell high.

When to Consider Rebalancing

You can rebalance your portfolio based either on the calendar or on your investments. Many financial experts recommend that investors rebalance their portfolios on a regular time interval, such as every six or twelve months. The advantage of this method is that the calendar is a reminder of when you should consider rebalancing.

Others recommend rebalancing only when the relative weight of an asset class increases or decreases more than a certain percentage that you've identified in advance. The advantage of this method is that your investments tell you when to rebalance. In either case, rebalancing tends to work best when done on a relatively infrequent basis.

Contact Us:

With extensive courtroom, arbitration and mediation experience and an in-depth understanding of elder abuse, exploitation and securities law, our firm provides all of our clients with the personal service they deserve. Handling cases worth $25,000 or more, we represent clients throughout Florida and across the United States, as well as for foreign individuals that invested in U.S. banks or brokerage firms. Contact us to arrange your free initial consultation.

At the Boca Raton Law Office of Russell L. Forkey, we represent clients throughout South and Central Florida, including Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Sunrise, Plantation, Coral Springs, Deerfield Beach, Pompano Beach, Delray, Boynton Beach, Hollywood, Lake Worth, Royal Palm Beach, Manalapan, Jupiter, Gulf Stream, Wellington, Fort Pierce, Stuart, Palm City, Jupiter, Miami, Orlando, Maitland, Winter Park, Altamonte Springs, Lake Mary, Heathrow, Melbourne, Palm Bay, Cocoa Beach, Vero Beach, Daytona Beach, Deland, New Smyrna Beach, Ormand Beach, Broward County, Palm Beach County, Dade County, Orange County, Seminole County, Martin County, Brevard County, Indian River County, Volusia County and Monroe County, Florida. The law office of Russell L. Forkey also represents South American, Canadian and other foreign residents that do business with U.S. financial institutions, investment advisors, brokerage and precious metal firms.

Asset Allocation - Diversification - Boca Raton, Florida Stock, Bond and Mutual Fund Mismanagement Attorney

South Florida, including Boca Raton, Deerfield Beach and Delray Beach Asset Allocation and Diversification Mismanagement Attorney:

A diversified portfolio should be diversified at two levels: between asset categories and within asset categories. So in addition to allocating your investments among stocks, bonds, cash equivalents, and possibly other asset categories, you'll also need to spread out your investments within each asset category. The key is to identify investments in segments of each asset category that may perform differently under different market conditions.

One of way of diversifying your investments within an asset category is to identify and invest in a wide range of companies and industry sectors. But the stock portion of your investment portfolio won't be diversified, for example, if you only invest in only four or five individual stocks. You'll need at least a dozen carefully selected individual stocks to be truly diversified.

Because achieving diversification can be so challenging, some investors may find it easier to diversify within each asset category through the ownership of mutual funds rather than through individual investments from each asset category. A mutual fund is a company that pools money from many investors and invests the money in stocks, bonds, and other financial instruments. Mutual funds make it easy for investors to own a small portion of many investments. A total stock market index fund, for example, owns stock in thousands of companies. That's a lot of diversification for one investment!

Be aware, however, that a mutual fund investment doesn't necessarily provide instant diversification, especially if the fund focuses on only one particular industry sector. If you invest in narrowly focused mutual funds, you may need to invest in more than one mutual fund to get the diversification you seek. Within asset categories, that may mean considering, for instance, large company stock funds as well as some small company and international stock funds. Between asset categories, that may mean considering stock funds, bond funds, and money market funds. Of course, as you add more investments to your portfolio, you'll likely pay additional fees and expenses, which will, in turn, lower your investment returns. So you'll need to consider these costs when deciding the best way to diversify your portfolio.

Options for One-Stop Shopping - Lifecycle Funds

To accommodate investors who prefer to use one investment to save for a particular investment goal, such as retirement, some mutual fund companies have begun offering a product known as a "lifecycle fund." A lifecycle fund is a diversified mutual fund that automatically shifts towards a more conservative mix of investments as it approaches a particular year in the future, known as its "target date." A lifecycle fund investor picks a fund with the right target date based on his or her particular investment goal. The managers of the fund then make all decisions about asset allocation, diversification, and rebalancing. It's easy to identify a lifecycle fund because its name will likely refer to its target date. For example, you might see lifecycle funds with names like "Portfolio 2015," "Retirement Fund 2030," or "Target 2045."

Changing Your Asset Allocation

The most common reason for changing your asset allocation is a change in your time horizon. In other words, as you get closer to your investment goal, you'll likely need to change your asset allocation. For example, most people investing for retirement hold less stock and more bonds and cash equivalents as they get closer to retirement age. You may also need to change your asset allocation if there is a change in your risk tolerance, financial situation, or the financial goal itself.

But savvy investors typically do not change their asset allocation based on the relative performance of asset categories - for example, increasing the proportion of stocks in one's portfolio when the stock market is hot. Instead, that's when they "rebalance" their portfolios.

Contact Us:

With extensive courtroom, arbitration and mediation experience and an in-depth understanding of elder abuse, exploitation and securities law, our firm provides all of our clients with the personal service they deserve. Handling cases worth $25,000 or more, we represent clients throughout Florida and across the United States, as well as for foreign individuals that invested in U.S. banks or brokerage firms. Contact us to arrange your free initial consultation.

At the Boca Raton Law Office of Russell L. Forkey, we represent clients throughout South and Central Florida, including Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Sunrise, Plantation, Coral Springs, Deerfield Beach, Pompano Beach, Delray, Boynton Beach, Hollywood, Lake Worth, Royal Palm Beach, Manalapan, Jupiter, Gulf Stream, Wellington, Fort Pierce, Stuart, Palm City, Jupiter, Miami, Orlando, Maitland, Winter Park, Altamonte Springs, Lake Mary, Heathrow, Melbourne, Palm Bay, Cocoa Beach, Vero Beach, Daytona Beach, Deland, New Smyrna Beach, Ormand Beach, Broward County, Palm Beach County, Dade County, Orange County, Seminole County, Martin County, Brevard County, Indian River County, Volusia County and Monroe County, Florida. The law office of Russell L. Forkey also represents South American, Canadian and other foreign residents that do business with U.S. financial institutions, investment advisors, brokerage and precious metal firms.

Asset Allocation - Why It Is So Important - South Florida Investment Attorney

South Florida, including Fort Lauderdale, Davie, Dania, Hollywood and Pompano Beach - Asset Allocation  Investment Attorney

Asset Allocation - Why It Is So Important:

By including asset categories with investment returns that move up and down under different market conditions within a portfolio, an investor can protect against significant losses. Historically, the returns of the three major asset categories have not moved up and down at the same time. Market conditions that cause one asset category to do well often cause another asset category to have average or poor returns. By investing in more than one asset category, you'll reduce the risk that you'll lose money and your portfolio's overall investment returns will have a smoother ride. If one asset category's investment return falls, you'll be in a position to counteract your losses in that asset category with better investment returns in another asset category.

The Magic of Diversification. The practice of spreading money among different investments to reduce risk is known as diversification. By picking the right group of investments, you may be able to limit your losses and reduce the fluctuations of investment returns without sacrificing too much potential gain.

In addition, asset allocation is important because it has major impact on whether you will meet your financial goal. If you don't include enough risk in your portfolio, your investments may not earn a large enough return to meet your goal. For example, if you are saving for a long-term goal, such as retirement or college, most financial experts agree that you will likely need to include at least some stock or stock mutual funds in your portfolio. On the other hand, if you include too much risk in your portfolio, the money for your goal may not be there when you need it. A portfolio heavily weighted in stock or stock mutual funds, for instance, would be inappropriate for a short-term goal, such as saving for a family's summer vacation.

 

Boca Raton, Florida Preferred Stock and Limited Partnership Fraud and Misrepresentation Attorney

Boca Raton, Florida Preferred Stock and Limited Partnership Fraud and Misrepresentation Attorney:

SEC Charges Principals of a Texas Oil and Gas Company with Conducting a Fraudulent Offering of Preferred Stock and Limited Partnership Interests, and Charges Seller with Acting as an Unregistered Broker

Securities and Exchange Commission v. Paul R. Downey, et al., Civil Action No. 1:14-CV-00185-C (N.D. Tex. Abilene Division)

Recently, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged two principals of Quest Energy Management Group, Inc. (Quest), Paul Downey of Naples, Florida and Jeffry Downey of Abilene, Texas, with conducting a fraudulent offering of preferred stock and limited partnership interests. The SEC also charged John Leonard, a salesman residing in Naples and Chicago, with acting as an unregistered broker in offering and selling the investment.

The SEC alleges that between January 2010 and May 2011, the father-son duo of Paul and Jeffry Downey used Quest, an Albany, Texas-based oil and gas company, to fraudulently offer Quest preferred stock and limited partnership units in an entity called Permian Advanced Oil Recovery Investment Fund I, LP (PAOR). Investors were told that PAOR would acquire working interests in oil and gas leases from Quest and receive revenue from those leases. With assistance from unregistered salesman John Leonard, the Downeys raised $4.8 million from approximately 17 investors. The PAOR offering was fraudulent on account of blatantly deceptive misstatements about Quest and PAOR. More particularly, the Downeys made false statements in the private placement memorandum about the financial viability of Quest; the purchase debt and liens associated with certain leases in which PAOR was acquiring an interest; the current and projected petroleum production from the leases; the use of investor funds raised in the offering; independent audits of PAOR; and foreseeable litigation against Quest and the Downeys.

On May 24, 2013, the U. S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division, appointed Burton Wiand, a Tampa attorney, as receiver over Quest, based on Quest's receipt of funds from a Ponzi scheme conducted by Arthur Nadel and others. In re Arthur Nadel, et al., Lit. Rel. No. 20858 (January 21, 2009). The receivership is ongoing.

The SEC's complaint against the Downeys and Leonard alleges that the Downeys violated Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (Exchange Act) and Rule 10b-5 thereunder, and that Leonard violated Section 15(a) of the Exchange Act. The SEC's complaint seeks from the Downeys and Leonard disgorgement of ill-gotten gains with prejudgment interest, civil penalties, and permanent injunctive relief, and additionally against the Downeys, officer and director bars.

Contact Us:

With extensive courtroom, arbitration and mediation experience and an in-depth understanding of elder abuse, exploitation and securities law, our firm provides all of our clients with the personal service they deserve. Handling cases worth $25,000 or more, we represent clients throughout Florida and across the United States, as well as for foreign individuals that invested in U.S. banks or brokerage firms. Contact us to arrange your free initial consultation.

At the Boca Raton Law Office of Russell L. Forkey, we represent clients throughout South and Central Florida, including Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Sunrise, Plantation, Coral Springs, Deerfield Beach, Pompano Beach, Delray, Boynton Beach, Hollywood, Lake Worth, Royal Palm Beach, Manalapan, Jupiter, Gulf Stream, Wellington, Fort Pierce, Stuart, Palm City, Jupiter, Miami, Orlando, Maitland, Winter Park, Altamonte Springs, Lake Mary, Heathrow, Melbourne, Palm Bay, Cocoa Beach, Vero Beach, Daytona Beach, Deland, New Smyrna Beach, Ormand Beach, Broward County, Palm Beach County, Dade County, Orange County, Seminole County, Martin County, Brevard County, Indian River County, Volusia County and Monroe County, Florida. The law office of Russell L. Forkey also represents South American, Canadian and other foreign residents that do business with U.S. financial institutions, investment advisors, brokerage and precious metal firms.

10 Ways for Seniors to Protect Themselves From Fraud - South Florida Senior and Retirement Financial Abuse and Exploitation Attorney

10 Ways for Seniors to Protect Themselves From Fraud - South Florida Senior and Retirement Financial Abuse and Exploitation Attorney:

Know who you're dealing with.

Try to find a seller's physical address (not a P.O. Box) and phone number. With internet phone services and other web-based technologies, it's tough to tell where someone is calling from. Do an online search for the company name and website, and look for reviews. If people report negative experiences, you'll have to decide if the offer is worth the risk. After all, a deal is good only if you get a product that actually works as promised.

Know that wiring money is like sending cash.

Con artists often insist that people wire money, especially overseas, because it's nearly impossible to reverse the transaction or trace the money. Don't wire money to strangers, to sellers who insist on wire transfers for payment, or to anyone who claims to be a relative or friend in an emergency and wants to keep the request a secret.

Read your monthly statements.

Scammers steal account information and then run up charges or commit crimes in your name. Dishonest merchants bill you for monthly "membership fees" and other goods or services without your authorization. If you see charges you don't recognize or didn't okay, contact your bank, card issuer, or other creditor immediately.

After a disaster, give only to established charities.

In the aftermath of a disaster, give to an established charity, rather than one that has sprung up overnight. Pop-up charities probably don't have the infrastructure to get help to the affected areas or people, and they could be collecting the money to finance illegal activity.

Talk to your doctor before you buy health products or treatments.

Ask about research that supports a product's claims - and possible risks or side effects. In addition, buy prescription drugs only from licensed U.S. pharmacies. Otherwise, you could end up with products that are fake, expired, or mislabeled - in short, products that could be dangerous to your health. Learn more about buying health products online.

Remember there's no sure thing in investing.

If someone contacts you with low-risk, high-return investment opportunities, stay away. When you hear pitches that insist you act now, that guarantee big profits, that promise little or no financial risk, or that demand that you send cash immediately, report them at ftc.gov.

Refund and Recovery Scams - Boca Raton, Florida Fraud and Misrepresentation Attorney

Refund and Recovery Scams - Boca Raton, Florida Fraud and Misrepresentation Attorney

Refund and Recovery Scams Which Promise You That You Will Get Your Money Back:

Phone Scams:

Scam artists buy and sell "sucker lists" with the names of people who already have lost money to fraudulent promotions, many focusing on elder or retired individuals. These crooks may call you promising to recover the money you lost or the prize or merchandise you never received - for a fee in advance. That's against the law. Under the Telemarketing Sales Rule, they cannot ask for - or accept - payment until seven business days after they deliver the money or other item they recovered to you. Recently, this scam targeted individuals that lost money in leveraged precious metals scams.

How the Scams Work:

Many consumers might not know that they have been scammed by a bogus prize promotion, phony charity drive, fraudulent business opportunity or other scam. But if you have unknowingly paid money to such a scam, chances are your name is on a "sucker list." That list may include your address, phone numbers, and other information, like how much money you've spent responding to phony offers. Dishonest promoters buy and sell "sucker lists" on the theory that people who have been deceived once have a high likelihood of being scammed again.

These scammers lie when they promise that, for a fee or a donation to a specific charity, they will recover the money you lost, or the prize or product you never received. They use a variety of lies to add credibility to their pitch: some claim to represent companies or government agencies; some say they're holding money for you; and others offer to file necessary complaint paperwork with government agencies on your behalf. Still others claim they can get your name at the top of a list for victim reimbursement.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation's consumer protection agency, says claims like these often are false. Although some federal and local government agencies and consumer organizations help people who have lost money, they don't charge a fee. Nor do they guarantee to get your money back, or give special preference to anyone who files a formal complaint.

Seeing Through a Recovery Scam:

Here are some tips to help you avoid losing money to a recovery scam:

Don't believe anyone who calls offering to recover money, merchandise, or prizes you never received if the caller says you have to pay a fee in advance. Under the Telemarketing Sales Rule, it's against the law for someone to request or receive payment from you until seven business days after you have the money or other item in hand.

If someone claims to represent a government agency that will recover your lost money, merchandise, or prizes for a fee or a donation to a charity, report them immediately to the FTC. National, state, and local consumer protection agencies and nonprofit organizations do not charge for their services.

Before you use any company to recover either money or a prize, ask what specific services the company provides and the cost of each service. Check out the company with local government law enforcement and consumer agencies; ask whether other people have registered complaints about the business. You also can enter the company name into an online search engine to look for complaints.

Don't give out your credit card or checking account numbers in an attempt to recover money you have lost or a prize you never received.

Contact Us:

With extensive courtroom, arbitration and mediation experience and an in-depth understanding of elder abuse, exploitation and securities law, our firm provides all of our clients with the personal service they deserve. Handling cases worth $25,000 or more, we represent clients throughout Florida and across the United States, as well as for foreign individuals that invested in U.S. banks or brokerage firms. Contact us to arrange your free initial consultation.

At the Boca Raton Law Office of Russell L. Forkey, we represent clients throughout South and Central Florida, including Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Sunrise, Plantation, Coral Springs, Deerfield Beach, Pompano Beach, Delray, Boynton Beach, Hollywood, Lake Worth, Royal Palm Beach, Manalapan, Jupiter, Gulf Stream, Wellington, Fort Pierce, Stuart, Palm City, Jupiter, Miami, Orlando, Maitland, Winter Park, Altamonte Springs, Lake Mary, Heathrow, Melbourne, Palm Bay, Cocoa Beach, Vero Beach, Daytona Beach, Deland, New Smyrna Beach, Ormand Beach, Broward County, Palm Beach County, Dade County, Orange County, Seminole County, Martin County, Brevard County, Indian River County, Volusia County and Monroe County, Florida. The law office of Russell L. Forkey also represents South American, Canadian and other foreign residents that do business with U.S. financial institutions, investment advisors, brokerage and precious metal firms.

False and Misleading Press Releases and Marketing Material - Boca Raton, Florida FINRA Arbitration and Litigation Attorney

False and Misleading Press Releases and Marketing Material (Pump and Dump) - Boca Raton, Florida FINRA Arbitration and Litigation Attorney

SEC Charges Penny Stock Company Executives in New Jersey With Issuing False Press Releases to Inflate Stock Price

The Securities and Exchange Commission recently charged father-and-son executives at a New Jersey-based penny stock company for issuing false and misleading press releases while secretly selling thousands of their own stock shares into the market. They agreed to pay nearly $325,000 and accept officer-and-director bars to settle the SEC's charges.

Conolog Corporation's public filings state that it manufactures communications equipment primarily for use by electric utilities, fiber optic service providers, and the military. The SEC alleges that Conolog issued three consecutive press releases in early 2010 with distorted information at the behest of chairman and then-CEO Robert Benou with assistance from his son and company president Marc Benou. Among the company's mischaracterizations were that Conolog had secured $1.9 million in new equipment orders when, in fact, only $50,000 worth of new orders had been received at the time. Conolog also created the misimpression that it had developed new fiber optic technology that was fully vetted and ready for commercial use and sale. Marc Benou was quoted saying it "surpassed our expectations in field tests" when in reality there had been no independent third-party testing as implied in the press release. The "testing" was merely an in-house demonstration of the product.

According to the SEC's complaint filed in federal court in Newark, N.J., Robert Benou hired a public relations firm to promote Conolog's stock using the false and misleading statements from the press releases. The promotional efforts significantly increased the company's stock price and trading volume, and Robert and Marc Benou made combined profits of more than $81,000 through undisclosed sales of some of their stock holdings at the artificially inflated prices. They also each violated the federal securities laws requiring company insiders to disclose information about their holdings and transactions in company stock so other investors are aware of their moves.

The SEC's complaint charges Conolog Corporation and the Benous with violating the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws. The complaint charges Robert and Marc Benou with violating securities law provisions requiring officers and directors of public companies to report their transactions in the company's stock within two business days, and requiring all owners of more than 5 percent of a company's stock to timely report the size of their holdings and any material changes to them.

Robert Benou agreed to settle the charges without admitting or denying the allegations by paying $77,490 in disgorgement of illegal profits made from selling Conolog stock as the misleading press releases were issued. He also must pay prejudgment interest of $12,400 and a penalty of $177,490, and will be permanently barred from acting as an officer or director of a public company or participating in penny stock offerings. Marc Benou agreed to settle the charges by paying disgorgement of $4,191 plus prejudgment interest of $671 and a penalty of $51,250. He will be barred for at least two years from acting as an officer or director of a public company or participating in penny stock offerings. The settlement is subject to court approval.

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