Category: Securities Fraud

Fraud Charges Filed Against Owners of Jay Peak Ski Resort Relating to Millions of Dollars Solicited under the EB-5 Immigrant Investors Program

The Securities and Exchange Commission recently announced fraud charges and an asset freeze against a Vermont-based ski resort and related businesses allegedly misusing millions of dollars raised through investments solicited under the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program. The Securities and Exchange Commission filed a complaint for Injunctive and Other Relief against Ariel Quiros, William Stenger, Jay Peak, Inc., Q Resorts, Inc., Jay Peak Hotel Suites L.P., Jay Peak Hotel Suites Phase II L.P., Jay Peak Hotel Suites Phase II L.P., Jay Peak Management, Inc., Jay Peak Penthouse Suites L.P., Jay Peak GP Services, Inc., Jay Peak Golf and Mountain Suites L.P., Jay Peak GP Services Golf, Inc., Jay Peak Lodge and Townhouses, L.P., Jay Peak GP Services Lodge, Inc., Jay Peak Hotel Suites Stateside L.P., Jay Peak GP Services Stateside, Inc., Jay Peak Biomedical Research Park L.P., and AnC Bio Vermont GP Services, LLC. The SEC’s case was unsealed in federal court in the United States District Court Southern District of Florida, and the court has appointed a receiver over the companies to prevent any further spending of investor assets.

The SEC alleges that Ariel Quiros of Miami, Florida, William Stenger of Newport, Vermont, and their companies made false statements and omitted key information while raising more than $350 million from investors to construct ski resort facilities and a biomedical research facility in Vermont. According to the SEC complaint, investors were told they were investing in one of several projects connected to Jay Peak Inc., a ski resort operated by Quiros and Stenger, and their money would only be used to finance that specific project. The SEC complaint alleges that instead, in Ponzi-like fashion, money from investors in later projects was misappropriated to fund deficits in earlier projects. The SEC complaint alleges that more than $200 million was used for other-than-stated purposes, including $50 million spent on Quiros’s personal expenses and in other ways never disclosed to investors.

According to the SEC’s complaint, Quiros improperly tapped investor funds for such things as the purchase of a luxury condominium, payment of his income taxes and other taxes unrelated to the investments, and acquisition of an unrelated ski resort. The SEC’s complaint charges Quiros, Stenger, Jay Peak, and a company owned by Quiros called Q Resorts Inc., as well as, seven limited partnerships and their general partner companies with violating the antifraud provisions of Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5. Four other companies are named as relief defendants in the SEC’s complaint for the purpose of recovering investor funds transferred into their accounts.

If you have suffered investment losses contact the Hanley Law to discuss your legal options. The Hanley Law is dedicated to helping investors nationwide. You may be entitled to recover your investment losses. Contact our office toll free at (239) 649-0050 for a complimentary initial consultation.

Futures Fraud and How To Avoid It

What is Futures Trading?

Futures trading is a formal agreement between parties to buy or sell a particular commodity at a certain price and at a specific point in time. The trading can be done with a number of different commodities: precious metals (i.e., silver or gold), petroleum products (i.e., crude oil and unleaded gas), foreign currency (i.e., Euros, Yen, or Deutschmarks), and agricultural products (i.e., corn, soybeans, or cattle). This type of trading is considered high-risk trading and is best suited for experienced investors who are willing to potentially risk losing their entire investment. For this reason, it’s always best to confer with a knowledgeable investor and do research before agreeing to any trading activity and exposing yourself to potential futures fraud.

What is Futures Fraud?

Futures fraud occurs when the party selling the commodity (e.g., commodity broker, financial advisor, or other third-party) engages in illegal activities or practices while trading futures to investors. Illegal activities often involved in futures fraud can include trading without the investor’s consent, false statements about the risk or value of the investment, withholding information from the investor on purpose (nondisclosure), trading on the investor account for commissions without regard for the investor, and using the investor’s assets for anything other than the stated purpose.

What Are Some Warning Signs of Futures Fraud?

The following are some common warning signs of potential futures fraud:

  • Investment opportunities that seem too good to be true and get-rich-quick schemes.
  • Promises or guarantees of large profits.
  • Assurances of little or no financial risk in the venture.
  • Claims of currency being traded in an “Interbank Market,” which can refer to a collection of transactions between banks and investment banks.
  • Unsolicited telephone calls about investment opportunities.
  • Requests for urgent transfers of cash to a recipient.

 

Do You Need A Futures Fraud Lawyer?

If you believe that you are the victim of futures fraud, reach out to Hanley Law and we can examine your case and determine the best course of action. Hanley Law has the experience required to help you receive the best possible outcome.

What is Securities Arbitration?

Securities Arbitration is the process, which takes place following a dispute with a broker or dealer. Prior to arbitration, the investor has determined that the broker engaged in some form of wrongdoing, or otherwise negligent action that resulted in a loss. Depending on the amount of the claim, the investor may or may not have to appear before an arbitrator or group of arbitrators. Arbitration is an alternative to settling in court and is often the preferred method of dispute resolution because it is typically faster and less expensive.

While typically a contract between a firm and investor is what provides ground for arbitration, the absence of a contractual agreement does not mean that the dispute cannot be settled through arbitration. If the broker or firm is registered with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, they are bound to FINRAs procedural guidelines, which include the duty to participate in arbitration when a conflict arises.

Arbitration is NOT an investor complaint. If you want to make FINRA aware of any suspicious activity then you should file an investor complaint. Arbitration is similar to a court case, with formal proceedings but for the reasons stated above is a simpler and quicker alternative to litigation. If a claim is under $50,000 then the dispute can be settled through what is known as “Simplified Arbitration”. In this scenario, parties provide case materials, which are reviewed by an arbitrator; this does not require parties to appear in person. For cases involving larger sums, arbitration takes place in-person and is reviewed by a panel of up to 3 arbitrators.

To initiate an arbitration, the investor must submit what is known as a “Statement of Claim”. The statement of claim must be articulate and while there is no standardized format, following the format of a suit in court is effective. The statement of claim should include all the pertinent information that the arbitrator(s) need to make an intelligent decision. This included the nature of the dispute, any background information, dates, types of securities at hand, names of the parties involved, the kind of transactions that took place and the damages sought.

Following the statement of claim, the respondents must answer to the allegations. This must also be detailed and simple denial will not suffice. At this point in time the respondent can file a counter-claim against the investor or a 3rd party involved. Once the submission of facts from either side is received by FINRA, a hearing location is chosen. Before the hearing is a discover period, where documentation is provided and exchanged amongst parties involved and FINRA officials. This stage is a window of opportunity for the assertive attorney as it is the opportunity to obtain any and all relevant information from the other party prior to the hearing. Often, the persistence of a dedicated attorney during the prehearing discovery phase can result in a favorable verdict for their client.

The hearing itself is scheduled in advance and follows a similar format to a case in court. Witnesses are interviewed, cross-examined and evidence is produced. A series of questions are asked and there are multiple stages before the process is concluded. The arbitrators will determine what awards are served usually within 30 days of the last hearing. The award will include the basic facts of the dispute but does not have to provide justification or rationale behind the actual dollar amount awarded. The opportunity to appeal a decision exists on the state and federal level but it is rarely ever successful.

The Hanley Law is a Naples, Florida based firm who have an extensive track record of successfully securing awards for their clients. The arbitration process is complex and difficult to navigate without the guidance and advocacy that skilled attorneys can provide. Hanley Law offers a free case evaluation to determine the best course of action for you.

Fraud Lawyers in Florida

Investing in securities can be a great way to secure your financial future; however, it’s important to understand the ways your investments can be mishandled. Understanding the different types of fraudulent activity that can occur is crucial if you plan to invest your money. Making an arrangement with a stockbroker should be carefully considered, as there are many ways that your investments can be mishandled. Stockbroker fraud constitutes a large portion of all lawsuits related to securities, so understanding the different ways your broker could be mishandling your accounts is essential for investors.

You might feel that your investments are unsuitable to your portfolio, over-concentrated in one area or industry, were misrepresented to you (either by purposefully withholding information or presenting misleading information), or that your broker was churning your investments. Churning refers to when a broker trades excessively on your behalf to increase their commissions. Insurance and annuity fraud is often subject to this; annuities, for example, offer some of the highest commissions for stockbrokers, and as such can be misrepresented or sold to investors when it is not in their best interest.

In addition to stockbroker fraud, there are other abuses that regulatory agencies like FINRA & the SEC (Securities & Trade Commission) look out for. Insider trading, fraud and market manipulation also occur in the industry, when individuals privy to certain company information use that information to help theirs or others investments. Investment schemes need to also be considered – these include methods for stealing investor’s money, using misrepresentation and instilling false hope into the investor. A well-known example of an investment scheme is the Ponzi scheme – Where brokers will use the money from new investors to pay their current clients, rather than money generated from the investment. To this end, when the Ponzi scheme is shut down, there isn’t enough real money that can be used to pay back investors. Pyramid schemes are another example of an investment scheme.

Securities violations come in many different forms and carry severe punishments. The process for solving these issues can come in the form of litigation or, more commonly, arbitration, and anyone looking to recover damages from a securities lawsuit should fully understand both options and the prerequisites to filing a claim. If you feel your investments have been mishandled or you may have been subject to securities abuses, it’s important to speak with an attorney who specializes in securities arbitration and litigation. The Hanley Law offer free case evaluations and can help you navigate through your claim.