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South Florida Investment Adviser Fraud and Misrepresentation FINRA Arbitration and Litigation Attorney

Tampa, Fort Meyers and Naples, Florida Investment Adviser Fraud, Breach of Fiduciary Duty and Misrepresentation FINRA Arbitration and State and Federal Court Litigation Attorney:

The Securities and Exchange Commission recently announced charges against two Tampa-area investment advisers accused of committing fraud by failing to truthfully inform clients about compensation received from offshore funds they were recommending as safe investments despite substantial risks and red flags.

The advisers also are charged with contributing to violations of the "custody rule" that requires investment advisory firms to establish specific procedures to safeguard and account for client assets.

The SEC's Enforcement Division alleges that Gregory J. Adams and Larry C. Grossman solicited and directed clients of their investment firm Sovereign International Asset Management to invest almost exclusively in funds controlled by an asset manager named Nikolai Battoo, who the SEC charged in a separate enforcement action last year. Grossman and Adams failed to inform clients about the conflict of interest in recommending these investments as Battoo was paying them millions of dollars in compensation for steering investors to his funds.

"Investment advisers have a fiduciary duty to act in utmost good faith when recommending investments, and they must fully disclose all of the relevant facts to their clients," said Eric I. Bustillo, director of the SEC's Miami Regional Office. "Adams and Grossman breached this duty when they misstated their compensation and failed to disclose serious conflicts of interest."

According to the SEC's order instituting administrative proceedings, Grossman was paid approximately $3.3 million and Adams received $1 million in the undisclosed compensation arrangements. Grossman and Adams promoted the investments as safe, diversified, independently administered and audited, and suitable for the investment objectives and risk profiles of their clients who were often retirees. However, Battoo's funds were in fact risky, lacked diversification, and lacked independent administrators and auditors. Grossman and Adams also failed to investigate - and in some cases wholly disregarded - numerous red flags surrounding Battoo and his funds.

The SEC's Enforcement Division alleges that Grossman and Adams aided and abetted Sovereign's violations of the custody rule when they instructed clients to transfer their investment funds to a bank account controlled by a related entity. Grossman and Adams pooled clients' money in this bank account before investing it in Battoo's offshore funds. Sovereign failed to comply with the custody rule, which requires an investment adviser to comply with surprise examinations or certain other procedures to verify and safeguard client assets.

According to the SEC's order, Grossman and Adams willfully violated Section 17(a)(2) of the Securities Act of 1933, Section 15(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Sections 206(1), 206(2), 206(3) and 207 of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. They willfully aided and abetted violations of Section 15(a) of the Exchange Act and Section 206(4) of the Advisers Act and Rules 204-3 and 206(4)-2.

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With extensive courtroom, arbitration and mediation experience and an in-depth understanding of 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 Fort Lauderdale 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.

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1075 Broken Sound Parkway NW, Suite 103
Boca Raton, FL 33487

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Phone: 954-514-9605
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