Articles Tagged with failure to supervise

In a court filing made on December 15, 2022, in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy court, the Official Committee of Bondholders of GWG Holdings Inc. (“Bondholder Committee”) alleged that broker-dealers sold GWG L Bonds using aggressive and misleading marketing even after it became clear that GWG’s business was failing and that the only way to repay bondholders was to continue to sell more L Bonds to existing and additional retail investors.  The Bondholder Committee, which represents the interests of GWG L Bondholders in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding, alleged that “GWG was a class Ponzi Scheme.”

However, much of the court filing, including specific allegations of wrongdoing, was filed under seal.

On February 1, 2023, the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas unsealed several significant court filings, including a draft adversary legal complaint against certain current and/or former directors and officers of GWG Holdings, Inc., individuals, and corporate entities affiliated with or controlled by Brad Heppner, transferees of certain fraudulent transfers, and key broker-dealers who marketed and sold L Bonds.

On January 30, 2023, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) published a Risk Alert including its observations from Broker-Dealer Examinations Related to Regulation Best Interest (“Reg BI”).  The risk alert highlights deficiencies observed during regulatory examinations, as well as weak practices by broker-dealers that could result in deficiencies.

Reg BI requires that brokerage firms and brokers act in the best interest of a retail customer at the time of a recommendation to purchase, sell, or hold a security or investment strategy.  The broker-dealer and broker must place their retail customers’ interest ahead of their own financial interest.  The standard of care also applies to recommendations of account types.

Reg BI requires compliance with four component obligations:

**Update: February 1, 2023** On February 1, 2023, the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas unsealed several significant court filings, including a draft legal complaint.  The complaint was filed by the Official Committee of Bondholders of GWG Holdings Inc. (“Bondholder Committee”) against certain current and/or former directors and officers of GWG Holdings, Inc., individuals, and corporate entities affiliated with or controlled by Brad Heppner, transferees of certain fraudulent transfers, and key broker-dealers who marketed and sold L Bonds.  The Bondholder Committee represents the interests of GWG L Bondholders in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding.

The unsealed complaint has revealed the following allegations, which were made after the bondholder committees reviewed documents and information that are currently not in the public domain:

  • Together with other insiders, Brad Heppner was the mastermind behind a Ponzi scheme whereby GWG, in conjunction with its broker-dealer network, sold hundreds of millions worth of L Bonds to retail investors even when it became clear that the only way to repay those investors was to sell yet more L Bonds to more retail investors.

On September 14, 2022, Western International Securities, Inc. filed its Answer to the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Complaint denying that the firm violated the standards under Regulation Best Interest (“Reg BI”) in approving, recommending, and supervising the sale of speculative, high-risk, and illiquid L Bonds issued by GWG Holdings, Inc.

The case, which is being litigated in the United States District Court of the Central District of California, is being closely watched by investors and the securities industry alike because it is the first substantive enforcement action brought by the SEC against a broker-dealer since Reg BI went into effect on June 30, 2020.

See AlsoLaw Firm Investigating the Sale of GWG L Bonds to Retail Investors by Western International Securities, Inc.

On September 8, 2022, FINRA announced that it had ordered Joseph Stone Capital L.L.C. (“Joseph Stone”) to pay restitution of approximately $825,000 to customers whose accounts were excessively traded by the firm’s representatives.

In related settlements, FINRA suspended eight current or former Joseph Stone representatives and required them to pay, collectively, an additional $211,000 in restitution to impacted customers. Additionally, FINRA suspended three Joseph Stone supervisors for failing to reasonably identify or respond to red flags of excessive trading and barred two representatives for refusing to respond to FINRA’s requests for information in connection with the investigation.

If you suspect your account was excessively traded at Joseph Stone Capital L.L.C., contact New York securities arbitration lawyers Iorio Altamirano LLP for a free and confidential evaluation of your account.

GWG L Bondholders who purchased the speculative, high-risk, illiquid, and unrated bonds through Newbridge Securities Corporation are worried after last week’s approval by the bankruptcy judge to allow GWG Holdings Inc. to enter into a new debtor-in-possession (“DIP”) financing package.  The new DIP financing package includes an option for GWG Holding Inc. to sell its portfolio of life insurance policies for at least $610 million, approximately $1 billion less than GWG Holding Inc’s outstanding obligations to GWG L Bondholders.

Even though the portfolio of life insurance policies does not directly secure the GWG L Bonds, this development is significant for GWG L Bond investors because GWG Holdings Inc.’s largest tangible asset is its portfolio of life insurance policies. It is believed that the value of these tangible assets will significantly impact the outcome of GWG Holdings Inc.’s restructuring effort through its filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Upon information and belief, Newbridge Securities was a part of a network of broker-dealers who sold the risky GWG L Bonds. GWG Holdings, Inc., which stopped making interest and maturity payments to GWG L Bond investors in January 2022, filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this year, on April 20, 2022.

On July 18, 2022, the Texas Southern Bankruptcy Court approved a new debtor-in-possession financing package that includes an option to sell GWG Holding Inc.’s portfolio of life insurance policies to Chapford SMA Partnership, L.P. for at least $610 million.

Even though the portfolio of life insurance policies does not directly secure the GWG L Bonds, this development is significant for GWG L Bond investors because GWG Holdings Inc.’s largest tangible asset is its portfolio of life insurance policies.  It is believed that the value of these tangible assets will significantly impact the outcome of GWG Holdings Inc.’s restructuring effort through its filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

As of the bankruptcy filing on April 20, 2022, GWG Holdings, Inc. had over $1.6 billion in outstanding GWG L Bond obligations, mainly owed to retail investors.

Iorio Altamirano LLP, a securities arbitration law firm based in New York, NY, is investigating potential lawsuits and securities arbitration claims against Dempsey Lord Smith, LLC for its sale of L Bonds issued by GWG Holdings, Inc. (GWGH) and limited partnerships created by GPB Capital Holdings, LLC.

On March 21, 2022, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) ordered Dempsey Lord Smith, LLC (“Dempsey Lord Smith”) to pay nearly $100,000 in monetary fines and restitution for negligently omitting to tell four investors in an offering related to GPB Capital Holdings, LLC (“GPB Capital”) that the issuer failed to timely make required filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), including filing audited financial statements.  In addition, FINRA accused Dempsey Lord Smith of making unsuitable recommendations of GPB Capital securities to four investors. Dempsey Lord Smith consented to the sanctions.

Additionally, upon information and belief, Dempsey Lord Smith was a part of a network of broker-dealers who sold the speculative, high-risk, and illiquid GWG L Bonds. GWG Holdings, Inc., which stopped making interest and maturity payments to GWG L Bond investors in January 2022, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in April 2022. Many GWG L Bond investors are skeptical that they will receive any significant portion of their principal back. Investment News has reported that one anonymous GWG L bond investor estimates that the GWG L Bonds may now be worth 20 to 30 cents on the dollar.

Iorio Altamirano LLP, a securities arbitration law firm based in New York, NY, is investigating potential lawsuits and securities arbitration claims against National Securities Corporation for its sale of L Bonds issued by GWG Holdings, Inc. (GWGH) and limited partnerships created by GPB Capital Holdings, LLC.

On June 23, 2022, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) ordered National Securities Corporation (“NSC”) to pay nearly $9 million in monetary fines and restitution for violating various SEC, NASD, and FINRA rules, including negligently omitting material facts to retail investors connected with offerings related to GPB Capital Holdings, LLC (“GPB Capital”). NSC consented to the sanctions after FINRA alleged that between April 2018 and July 2018, NSC negligently omitted to tell investors in two offerings related to GPB Capital that the issuers failed to timely make required filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), including audited financial statements.

Additionally, upon information and belief, National Securities Corporation was a part of a network of broker-dealers who sold the speculative, high-risk, and illiquid GWG L Bonds. GWG Holdings, Inc., which stopped making interest and maturity payments to GWG L Bond investors in January 2022, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in April 2022. Many GWG L Bond investors are skeptical that they will receive any significant portion of their principal back. Investment News has reported that one anonymous GWG L bond investor estimates that the GWG L Bonds may now be worth 20 to 30 cents on the dollar.

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