Articles Tagged with Securities and Exchange Commission

After filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy last month and failing to file its annual report with the Securities and Exchange Commission earlier this year, GWG Holdings, Inc. will now be delisted from Nasdaq.   On May 17, 2022, the Nasdaq Stock Market announced that it would delist the common stock of GWG Holdings, Inc.  Since April 29, 2022, the stock has been suspended and has not been traded.

New York securities arbitration law firm Iorio Altamirano LLP is investigating potential legal claims related to investments in L Bonds offered by GWG Holdings, Inc. (GWGH). To read about the investigation’s findings, including a crucial event timeline, please visit our website:  www.gwglawyer.com.

GWG Holdings, Inc.’s bankruptcy filing revealed for the first time that the ongoing SEC investigation includes an examination of sales practices of the GWG L Bonds by the brokerage firms that sold the securities, including Emerson Equity and its network of regional broker-dealers.  According to the bankruptcy filing,  the United States Securities and Exchange Commission issued subpoenas and documents to individual brokerage firms selling GWG L Bonds.  As of the bankruptcy filing, GWG  Holdings, Inc.’ had over $1.62 billion in outstanding GWG L Bond obligations, mostly owed to retail investors.

Iorio Altamirano LLP, a securities arbitration law firm based in New York, NY, is investigating potential securities arbitration claims against Western International Securities, Inc. for its sale of L Bonds issued by GWG Holdings, Inc. Upon information and belief, Western International Securities, Inc. was a part of Emerson Equity LLC’s network of broker-dealers who sold the speculative, high-risk, and illiquid GWG L Bonds.  Iorio Altamirano LLP has spoken to several retail investors who purchased GWG L Bonds through the recommendation of broker Dan Beech, who was registered with Western International Securities in Westlake Village, CA, from May 10, 2016, until March 9, 2022.

On April 20, 2022, GWG Holdings, Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, allowing GWG Holdings to propose a reorganization plan.  However, many GWG L Bond investors, who have not received interest or maturity payments since January 2022, are skeptical that they will see a return of their invested capital. 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.

According to the bankruptcy filings, the SEC has been investigating the sales practices related to GWG L Bonds.  We believe that this investigation includes the sales practices of Emerson Equity and its regional broker-dealers, such as Western International Securities, Inc.

Investors who purchased GPB funds in 2016 through a broker-dealer need to act now to preserve their legal rights. Failure to file an arbitration claim may prevent recovery of investment losses. Time is running out. GPB investors should act in 2022.

Key Takeaways:

  • Investors can potentially recover investment losses by filing claims against broker-dealers or investment-advisory firms that sold GPB private placement offerings for large commissions.

David Gentile, the disgraced founder and former CEO of GPB Capital Holdings LLC, has sued GPB Capital. Mr. Gentile seeks to make GPB Capital, which an independent court-appointed monitor is now overseeing, cover the legal costs for his defense against criminal and civil securities fraud.

In February 2021, Mr. Gentile was criminally charged with securities fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy in federal court. The criminal complaint alleged that Mr. Gentile, among others, engaged in a scheme to defraud investors by misrepresenting the source of funds used to make monthly distributions to investors and the amount of revenue generated by two of GPB’s investment funds, GPB Holdings, LP, and GPB Automotive Portfolio, LP.

Separately, the SEC has charged Mr. Gentile, GPB Capital, and related entities with running a Ponzi-like scheme that raised roughly $1.8 billion from securities issued by GPB Capital. The SEC believes that as many as 17,000 retail investors nationwide have been defrauded.

Energy 11, L.P. is an illiquid, non-traded limited partnership sold as private placement security exclusively by broker-dealer David Lerner Associates, Inc. The limited partnership invests in the oil, gas, and energy sector, which has been extremely volatile the past several years.  Energy 11 was not suitable for most conservative or retired investors.

On November 5, 2011, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Energy 11 GP, LLC, the general partner of Energy 11, L.P. (“Energy 11”), sent a letter to investors of Energy 11 notifying them that partial distributions would resume after a nearly two-year hiatus. The amount of the distribution will be 50% of the regular monthly distribution.

In March 2020, Energy 11 suspended monthly distributions to its limited partners as the partnership took on massive debt.  Unbeknownst to many investors, the distributions were merely a return of the limited partner’s original capital investment, not a dividend.   Energy 11 currently owes 21 months of unpaid distributions to its limited partners, totaling approximately $42 million.

Between July 2013 and June 2018, limited partners invested $675 million into GPB Automotive Portfolio, LP, which was sold as a private placement offering by broker-dealers and registered investment advisory firms across the country. Financial advisors, who received large commissions for selling limited partnership units of GPB Automotive, lured investors into this high-risk and illiquid security by emphasizing a high rate of return and monthly distributions.  Unfortunately for investors, distributions have not been paid since December 2018.

With the recent announcement that GPB Automotive Portfolio, LP agreed to sell Prime Automotive for $880 million, limited partners have been wondering what that means for them.

Below, we delve into GPB Automotive LP’s latest quarterly filing with the SEC to look for answers.

David Gentile, the disgraced founder of GPB Capital Holdings LLC, who is facing criminal and civil fraud charges, is seeking to obtain millions of dollars from GPB.  Despite being accused of running a Ponzi-like scheme when he was running GPB Capital, Mr. Gentile is asking for court-supervised mediation to obtain a distribution of more than $5 million to cover his personal tax liability from last year.  Meanwhile, limited partners of GPB Capital private placement funds, such as GPB Automotive Portfolio LP, have not received distributions since 2019.  Worse, their investments remain illiquid, as there is no secondary market to sell their units.

Mr. Gentile claims to be “entitled to distributions” under the private equity firm’s operating agreements.  He also claims that GPB Capital and its funds, including GPB Holdings, LP / GPB Holdings Qualified, LP, GPB Automotive Portfolio, LP, GPB Holdings II, LP, and GPB Waste Management, LP, are responsible for  paying his legal fees. He is essentially asking investors who have been defrauded to pay his legal fees to defend him against numerous allegations of wrongdoing.

Lawyers for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) argue that Mr. Gentile’s request should be denied because he does not qualify for mediation according to rules issued by the court.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) announced a whistleblower award of roughly $36 million to a whistleblower that provided information to the SEC on an illegal scheme. The information led to successful regulatory enforcement actions by the SEC and another federal agency.

In total, $161 million has been awarded to whistleblowers this month.  On September 17, 2021, the SEC announced an award of $11.5 million to two whistleblowers.  On September 15, 2021, the SEC announced two awards totaling $114 million.  That award marked a milestone for the SEC’s 10-year-old whistleblower program, as it put the total amount of awards issued to over $1 billion.

In total, the SEC has awarded over $1.1 billion to 214 individuals since the whistleblower program became effective in August 2011. The awards are paid out of an investor protection fund established by Congress financed entirely through monetary sanctions paid to the SEC by securities law violators. Money is not taken or withheld from harmed investors to pay whistleblower awards.

On September 15, 2021, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) announced whistleblower awards of roughly $110 million and $4 million to two whistleblowers.   With these awards, the SEC has issued more than $1 billion to 207 whistleblowers, ten years after the SECs Whistleblower Program became effective.  The program has issued a whopping $500 million in the fiscal year 2021 alone.

In the SEC’s press release, SEC Chair Gary Gensler issued the following statement:

“Today’s announcement underscores the important role that whistleblowers play in helping the SEC detect, investigate, and prosecute potential violations of the securities laws. The assistance that whistleblowers provide is crucial to the SEC’s ability to enforce the rules of the road for our capital markets.

On September 1, 2021, Robinhood ($Hood) filed its first amendment to its Form S-1 Registration Statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”).

The public filing, which amends the registration statement that Robinhood filed in connection with its July 2021 initial public offering (IPO), discloses that the SEC’s Division of Examinations and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) have submitted inquires to Robinhood related to whether any employee executed trades in certain securities, including GameStop Corp. and AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc., before the public announcement that Robinhood would restrict trading in those securities on January 28, 2021.

On Thursday, January 28, 2021, Robinhood designated specific stocks “position closing only,” restricting its customers from purchasing additional shares in those stocks.  The targeted stocks included GameStop (NYSE: GME), AMC (NYSE: AMC), Blackberry (NYSE: BB), Nokia (NYSE: NOK), Koss Corporation (NYSE: KOSS), and Express, Inc. (NYSE: EXPR).

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