In June 2020, FINRA permanently barred financial advisor Dee Dee Brooks (CRD #2559233) from the securities industry. Ms. Brooks was a financial advisor at Signator Investors, Inc. in Huntington Beach, California. FINRA’s disciplinary action arose from Ms. Brook’s solicitation of two private securities transactions, Woodbridge Group of Companies LLC (“Woodbridge”) and Future Income Payments, LLC. Both Woodbridge Group of Companies LLC and Future Income Payments, LLC were purportedly Ponzi schemes.
This blog has previously written about Future Income Payments, LLC.
FINRA alleged that between July 2016 and December 2017, Dee Dee Brooks participated in undisclosed and unapproved private securities transactions totaling $1.77 million. Specifically, FINRA alleged:
- From July 2016 through December 2017, Ms. Brooks solicited investors to purchase $1.77 million in two separate investments, the Woodbridge Group of Companies LLC and Future Income Payments, LLC.
- Woodbridge Group of Companies LLC was a purported real estate investment fund that offered investors profits off short-term construction loans and a return of as much as 6% monthly interest payments.
- Brooks solicited nine investors, five of whom were customers of Signator Investors, Inc., to invest $906,497 in Woodbridge promissory notes.
- Future Income Payments, LLC represented itself as a structured cash flow investment that purchased pensions at a discount from pensioners and then sold a portion of those pensions as a “pension stream to investors.”
- Future Income Payments, LLC generally promised investors a 7% to 8% rate of return.
- Brooks solicited seven investors, six of whom were customers of Signator Investors, Inc., to invest $866,895 in securities of Future Income Payments, LLC.
- Signator Investors, Inc. prohibited its financial advisors from participating in private securities transactions without prior written approval from the firm.
- Brooks did not provide notice to Signator Investors, Inc. before soliciting investors to purchase securities of Woodbridge Group of Companies LLC and Future Income Payments, LLC.
Woodbridge Group of Companies LLC offered investors profits off short-term construction loans and a return of as much as 6% monthly interest payments. Instead, investors’ money was shuffled around with more than 275 shell companies to make it appear that the money was being used for loans. Money raised from new investors was used to pay previous investors, a classic Ponzi Scheme. Woodbridge and its former owner, Robert H. Shapiro, defrauded 8,400 investors of $1 billion, including more than 2,000 who lost their retirement savings. In December 2017, Woodbridge filed a voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition. In October 2019, Robert Shapiro was sentenced to 25 years in prison after pleading guilty to two counts: conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and evading federal income taxes.
In April 2018, Future Income Payments, LLC ceased business, owing nearly $300 million in unpaid investor payments to over 2,600 individuals. In March 2019, Future Income Payments, LLC and its owner, Scott A. Kohn, were indicted by a Federal Grand Jury alleging a conspiracy to engage in mail fraud and wire fraud. According to the indictment, Future Income Payments, LLC operated a Ponzi scheme.
Ms. Brooks was a financial advisor at Signator Investors, Inc. in Huntington Beach, California, from July 2015 until June 2018. Signator Investors, Inc. allowed Ms. Brooks to resign in June 2018, alleging that it was investigating Ms. Brooks for selling unregistered securities.
According to Ms. Brooks’ BrokerCheck report issued by FINRA, she has also been employed by SCF Securities, Inc. in Huntington Beach, CA and Signator Investors, Inc. in Irvine, CA.
Brokerage firms like Signator Investors, Inc. must properly supervise financial advisors and customer accounts. Brokerage firms must also establish and maintain a reasonably designed system to oversee account activity, such as private securities transactions, to ensure compliance with securities laws and industry regulations. When a brokerage firm fails to sufficiently supervise its financial advisors or the investment account activity, it may be liable for investment losses sustained by customers.
According to public records, at least one customer has already filed a FINRA arbitration complaint against Ms. Brooks and Signator Investors, Inc. related to the solicitation of Woodbridge Group of Companies LLC.
If you have lost money with Dee Dee Brooks or because you invested in Woodbridge Group of Companies LLC or Future Income Payments, LLC, contact New York securities arbitration lawyer August Iorio of Iorio Altamirano LLP. August Iorio can be reached at email@example.com or toll-free at (855) 430-4010 for a free and confidential review of your account.
Iorio Altamirano LLP is a boutique law firm located in the heart of New York City. Iorio Altamirano LLP represents investors nationwide who have suffered investment losses due to securities fraud.
Iorio Altamirano LLP is a bilingual law firm, fluent in both English and Spanish.