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Annuity and Insurance Fraud and Misrepresentation - Boca Raton, West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale, Florida Litigation and Arbitration Attorney

Annuity and Insurance Fraud and Misrepresentation - Elder Financial Abuse and Exploitation Litigation and Arbitration Attorney:

SEC Charges Four Insurance Agents in Securities Fraud Targeting Elderly Investors

The Securities and Exchange Commission recently announced charges against four insurance agents for unlawfully selling securities in what turned out to be a multi-million dollar offering fraud targeting elderly investors.

The SEC previously charged a Colorado man who allegedly orchestrated the scheme and recruited active insurance agents to help him solicit investors in Colorado and several other states. The scheme raised approximately $4.3 million during a nearly 18-month period. The SEC's investigation further found that the four insurance agents charged today solicited funds without registering with the SEC as a broker-dealer as required under the federal securities laws.

"When individuals act as a broker and sell securities to the public, they must comply with registration, supervision, and compliance requirements that exist to protect investors," said Julie K. Lutz, Director of the SEC's Denver Regional Office. "These insurance agents improperly operated outside of that regulatory framework and thereby placed their clients at risk."

According to the SEC's order instituting administrative proceedings, the scheme primarily targeted retired annuity holders by using insurance agents to sell interests in a company called Arete LLC, which was controlled by the Colorado man orchestrating the scheme: Gary Snisky. The insurance agents told investors that their funds would be used by Snisky to purchase government-backed agency bonds at a discount. However, Snisky did not purchase bonds or conduct any such trading, and he misappropriated approximately $2.8 million of investor funds to pay commissions and make personal mortgage payments.

The SEC's Enforcement Division alleges that the following three brokers raised approximately $1.5 million for Snisky and received almost $90,000 in commissions:

  • Kenneth C. Meissner of Fair Oaks Branch, Texas
  • James Doug Scott of Perkasie, Penn.
  • Mark S. "Mike" Tomich of Belmont, Mich.

The other insurance agent - David C. Sorrells of Linden, Texas - entered into a cooperation agreement with the SEC. Without admitting or denying the findings, Sorrells consented to an order finding that he violated Section 15(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. He agreed to be barred from the securities industry, cease and desist from future violations of Section 15(a), and pay disgorgement of $207,213.34. He also is subject to an additional financial penalty. The settlement reflects substantial assistance that Sorrells provided in the SEC's investigation.

The SEC's Enforcement Division alleges that Meissner, Scott, and Tomich violated Section 15(a) of the Exchange Act, and is seeking disgorgement, penalties, and securities industry bars in the matter, which will be litigated before an administrative law judge. The SEC's case against Snisky, filed in November 2013, is still pending in federal court in Colorado.

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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 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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