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TAG | high risk investments

Feb/13

7

LPL Financial Ordered to Pay $2 mill Over Sales of Non-Traded REITs

On Feb. 6th., 2013, LPL Financial, LLC, was ordered by Massachusetts Security Division to pay restitution of more than $2 million to investors who bought shares of nontraded real estate investment trusts (REITs) and a $500,000 administrative fine, which involved investors who bought shares of several different nontraded REITs in violation of state limitations, and the company’s own rules and procedures. LPL also has agreed to review all nontraded REITs sold in Massachusetts and offered to make restitution to all other investors who bought the securities in violation of state limits or company rules.

LPL Financial and Ameriprise Financial Inc. are the two biggest sellers of nontraded REITs, accounting for almost 20% of the industry’s annual sales of $10 billion. Regulators recently have put the nontraded REITs on close watch as a number of the largest REITs have suffered sharp devaluations.

In its consent order with Massachusetts regulators, LPL admitted to a series of statements of fact around the sales of the REITs but neither admitted nor denied allegations stemming from the training and oversight of sales of nontraded REITs as well as alleged violations of securities laws. The REIT sales occurred between 2006 and 2009.

Below is a list of non-traded REITs sold by many broker/dealers:

American Realty Capital Daily Net Asset Value, Inc.
American Realty Capital Global Trust, Inc.
ARC Retail Centers of America
American Realty Capital Trust IV, Inc.
ARC Healthcare Trust
American Realty Capital Phillips Edison
Shopping Center REIT
American Realty Capital Trust, Inc.
American Realty Capital New York Recovery REIT
ARC Property Trust, Inc.
Arciterra National REIT, LP
Behringer Harvard Multifamily REIT II, Inc.
Bluerock Enhanced Multifamily Trust, Inc.
Carter Validus Mission Critical REIT
Clearwater Opportunity REIT
CNL Global Growth Trust, Inc.
CNL Global Income Trust, Inc.
Cornerstone Core Properties REIT, Inc. 2nd Offering
Hines Global REIT, Inc. 2012 Update
Inland Real Estate Income Trust, Inc.
Inland Diversified REIT
Lightstone Value Plus REIT II
NetREIT Dubose Model Home REIT, Inc.
NetREIT $200,000,000 Stock Offering Update
O’Donnell Strategic Industrial REIT, Inc.
Preferred Apartment Communities, Inc.
RREEF Property Trust, Inc.
UCM US RMBS Opportunity REIT, Inc.
US Apartment Investors 2010, Inc.
Wells Core Office Income REIT

Securities Attorney, Lars Soreide, of Soreide Law Group, PLLC, has represented clients nationwide. If you or a family member have experienced losses through LPL Financial, LLC, or any other nontraded REIT, call a Securities Arbitration Lawyer for a free consultation on how to potentially recover your losses. To speak with an attorney, call 888-760-6552, or visit http://www.securitieslawyer.com.

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Feb/13

1

What You Should Consider Before Investing in Tenant-In-Common (TIC) Investments

There are many real estate investors attracted to Tenant-In-Common (TICs) for the purported tax savings through the like kind exchange provisions in the IRS code Section 1031, which allows for the investor a deferral of capital gains. Up until 2013, the capital gains rate was only 15%. Investors need to calculate the net amount of real estate that they are actually acquiring when they buy a Tenant-In-Common investment because many times it is less than 80% and the investor would net more money by paying the taxes.

Also, a factor to consider is that a TIC investment is really just a creative way to finance a real estate transaction that results in 1031 investors acquiring significantly more real estate than they needed to accomplish the like kind exchange. For example, if an investor sells 2 multi-family units and has $500k in proceeds, all the investor needs to do is purchase $500k or more in like kind real estate to qualify under section 1031. However, many TIC deals are highly leveraged and the $500k they use to buy into the property is usually encumbered by a pro rata share of a mortgage, which is typically 3 times the investment and the investor will end up with 4 times the amount of real estate they need to effectuate their 1031 exchange.

Securities Lawyer, Lars Soreide, points out that, “One of the errors investors make in TIC cases is to assume that the unit value of the investment equals the property value divided by the units.” When TIC cases are litigated, “many of these cases bog down in property valuation when in reality the issue in not the property value but the investment value, which is next to worthless even if the property has residual value. Think of this way, who would buy a unit in this investment given that the purchaser would have to take on 150% on additional debt, give up all property rights to become a tenant in common that is worthless as collateral and cannot be turned into cash? Given the structure of ownership with loans with covenants signed by the sponsor and cross collateralized usually, property value is secondary in these cases.” Often these investments are sold by a stock broker or financial adviser because a Tenant-in-Common Investment is a security. In a FINRA arbitration, “often Respondents/Defendants put on an appraiser to prove the property value, but there is an objection on relevance of this testimony because the appraiser does not opine on the market value of the security on the notional value of the unit which is usually not much at all if anything,” says Soreide. It is “critical to obtain the principal loan documents and assumption agreements to ascertain how encumbered and how much real estate you actually own.”

Soreide Law Group represents investors nationwide in Tenant-In-Common (TIC) cases before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. For a free consultation on how to potentially recover your financial losses call: 888-760-6552. More information on TICs and FINRA Arbitrations can be found on http://www.securitieslawyer.com.

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Jan/13

30

Does Your Stock Broker Owe You Money?

With the stock market crash of 2008-2009 there has been an onslaught of investors filing lawsuits against their stock brokers and brokerage firms for providing them with unsuitable advice. There is a direct inverse correlation with stock index averages and new case filings. In other words, in a down market more cases are filed. Many of these cases had no merit and were largely suits over market losses, but a large percentage represented investors that were legitimately steered into investments products that proved to be illiquid, commission laden, or a complete fraud, such as a ponzi scheme. All of these claims against stock brokers and brokerage firms must be filed with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority or “FINRA” for short.
Recently investors have been having success bringing FINRA arbitrations against brokerage firms for the sale of the following types of investments:

1) Reverse convertible notes- These were marketed as safe securities that produced an income that are typically linked to the common stock of a particular company and if the underlying stock drops, then the note converts to common shares, and unsuspecting investors who thought they had a fixed income product end up with large amounts of falling common stock they never wanted;

2) Fannie and Freddie Mac preferred shares -sold on and after their 2008 IPO where investors were told the investments were government insured when they were not;

3) Tenant in common or TIC investments- Investors were told to shelter their real estate profits by purchasing a TIC through a 1031 exchange but ended up paying excessive commissions that far exceeded any tax liability and ended up with an over leveraged illiquid asset;

4) Private Placements- Many of these investments have proven to be illiquid, commission laden, and lack material disclosures to the investors;

5) Account Churning- This is where the broker trades excessively in the account with a high velocity generating excessive commissions usually disguised to the investors as “mark ups” or “mark downs”. This is an extra “hidden” commission the investors do not usually realize typically this is coupled with an excessive use of margin; and

6) Overconcentration- This is where a broker recommends a high concentration in one security or one asset class which can result in unnecessary risk, especially if you are at or nearing retirement.

If you are an investor and you feel your stock broker recommended an inappropriate investment or investment strategy that resulted in significant losses, Soreide Law Group offers a free consultation and portfolio analysis to decide if you have legal grounds to pursue a FINRA arbitration. To speak with a lawyer call (888) 760-6552 or (954) 760-6552.

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Jan/13

30

Reverse Convertibles Investors Linked to Apple Common Stock–Got Burned

Reverse convertibles, are often called “trigger notes,” “phoenixes,” or “auto-callables.” These structured products promised high yields of 6% to 12% or more, but trigger a conversion to Apple common stock if the price falls, usually on average 15% to 20%. With Apple down more than 25% from its high of last fall in 2012, many of these instruments may already converted and have handed their investors severe losses.

The price of Apple has dropped from over $700 to below $500 per share. Brokers sold a lot of structured notes based on the price when Apple was north of $700.

Many brokers represented to their clients that the structured notes were “safe and guaranteed,” and presented it as a way to benefit from the Apple’s rise without the risk. Unfortunately, the price of Apple plummeted, the notes converted and many conservative investors looking for a safe yield ended up with a lot of falling shares of Apple’s common stock.

$241 million of structured notes tied to Apple Inc. face losses after a 27 percent drop in the stock of the world’s most valuable company eroded built-in cushions that protect investors. Banks issued 76 US notes linked to Apple stock during the seven weeks starting August 20th. when the company was valued at $650 a share or more. In total, banks issued $1.66 billion of such notes, making Apple the most popular underlying company in such high commission structured products.

If you were a conservative investor who was seeking yield and ended up with a bunch of falling Apple common stock after buying Apple-linked reverse convertibles in 2012, Soreide Law Group would like to speak with you about your potential claim. Call 888-760-6552 or visit http://www.securitieslawyer.com.

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The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) today, January 29th., 2013, on it’s website announced that it has charged a former managing director of Jefferies & Co., Inc. (Jefferies), a New York-based broker-dealer, with making misrepresentations and engaging in misleading conduct while he sold mortgage-backed securities (MBS) in the wake of the financial crisis.

The SEC alleges that Jesse Litvak, a senior trader on Jefferies’ MBS Desk who worked at Jefferies’ office in Stamford, Connecticut, where he bought and sold MBS from and to his customers. From 2009 to 2011, Litvak allegedly lied to, or otherwise misled, those customers about the prices that Jefferies had purchased the MBS before selling it to another customer and the amount of his firm’s compensation for arranging the trades. Litvak also misled his customer into believing that he was arranging a MBS trade between customers, when Litvak really was selling the MBS out of Jefferies’ inventory. Litvak also misled customers about how much money they were paying in compensation to Jefferies. These customers included investment funds established by the United States government in the wake of the financial crisis to help support the market for MBS as well as other investment funds, including hedge funds.

It was also noted in the article on the SEC website that according to the SEC’s complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, Litvak engaged in misconduct on over 25 trades. When Litvak offered his customers MBS, he lied to them about how much Jefferies had paid (or was paying) for the securities. On some occasions, Litvak also pretended to be actively negotiating with an outside party to buy a security that he would then re-sell to his customer. But none of these negotiations were taking place; instead, Litvak fabricated the existence of the seller and every detail about active negotiations with it. In fact, as Litvak knew, Jefferies had purchased these bonds days before and already held them in its inventory.

The SEC’s complaint charges Litvak with violating the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws. The complaint seeks a final judgment permanently enjoining Litvak from future violations of the federal securities laws, ordering him to disgorge his ill-gotten gains plus prejudgment interest, and order him to pay civil penalties.

Securities Lawyer, Lars K. Soreide, of Soreide Law Group, represents clients nationwide before FINRA. If you or a loved one have sustained investment losses due to your stock broker or financial advisor’s recommendations, call for a free consultation on how to potentially recover your losses. To speak with an attorney call 888-760-6552, or visit our website at: http://www.securitieslawyer.com.

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Jan/13

24

Alison Janke, Port Richey, FL, Fined and Suspended by FINRA

The following information is from FINRA’s website under “Disciplinary and Other FINRA Actions, January, 2013.”

Alison Marie Janke (CRD #4409155, Registered Representative, Port Richey, Florida)

was fined $11,600, which includes the disgorgement of financial benefit received of $6,600, and suspended from association with any FINRA member in any capacity for three months.

Without admitting or denying the findings, Alison Janke consented to the described sanctions and to the entry of findings that she had participated in a private securities transaction without providing prior written notice to her member firm.

Ms.Janke referred a customer who was seeking alternative investments to a registered representative at a different firm, where the customer invested $200,000 in a real estate investment trust (REIT) through the other registered representative. Alison Janke not only referred the customer to another representative, but also attended the meeting with the customer and the other representative, and assisted with the completion of the purchase transaction.

The findings stated that a limited liability company Janke owned received a $6,600 payment in connection with the sale of the REIT.

The suspension is in effect from December 3, 2012, through March 2, 2013.
(FINRA Case #2011030660801)
This ends the information from FINRA’s website.

Securities Lawyer, Lars K. Soreide, of Soreide Law Group, PLLC, has represented clients nationwide. If you find yourself in this situation, or a similar situation with your broker or financial advisor, call for a free consultation with an attorney, 888-760-6552, or visit our website at: http://www.securitieslawyer.com.

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Jan/13

24

FINRA Fines and Suspends Reps

The following information is from FINRA’s website under “Disciplinary and Other FINRA Actions, January, 2013.”

Charles Tuttle Mason aka Chip Mason (CRD #2206257, Registered Principal, St. Pete Beach, Florida)

and Darren Duane Gibson (CRD #2311950, Registered Representative,Oceanside, California)

were each fined $5,000 and suspended from association with any FINRA member in any capacity for three months. Without admitting or denying the allegations, Mason and Gibson consented to the
described sanctions and to the entry of findings that while employed as wholesalers at their member firm, they were responsible for promoting a non-registered entity’s offerings
to retail broker-dealers, through sales presentations and providing marketing materials to registered representatives.

FINRA’s findings stated that Gibson, secured selling agreements from retail broker-dealers, who in turn raised more than $300 million from investors and earned $2,930,000 secured selling agreements from broker-dealers, who in turn raised more than $132 million from investors and earned approximately $1,500,000.

FINRA’s findings also included that Mason and Gibson assisted the retail broker-dealers with product training.

Several of the third-party due diligence reports raised concerns about the accounting of inter-offering transactions and the ability of the offerings to generate sufficient revenue from oil and gas investments. Mason and Gibson, continued to market the offerings without having adequately investigated the subject concerns and determining for themselves whether the offerings were appropriate to be recommended to investors.

Mason’s suspension is in effect from November 19, 2012, through February 18, 2013.

Gibson’s suspension is in effect from November 19, 2012, through February 18, 2013.
(FINRA Case #2011026598101) This ends the information from FINRA’s website.

Securities Lawyer, Lars K. Soreide, of Soreide Law Group, represents clients nationwide before FINRA. If you or a loved one have sustained investment losses due to your stock broker or financial advisor’s recommendations, call for a free consultation on how to potentially recover your losses. To speak with an attorney call 888-760-6552, or visit our website at: http://www.securitieslawyer.com.

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Jan/13

24

Did You Invest in UBS Willow Fund?

Soreide Law Group is currently investigation the UBS Willow Fund. This distressed debt hedge fund was formed in 2000. In October, 2012, its investors were informed that the fund would be liquidated after having sustained substantial losses. Willow Fund’s net asset value declined over $300 million.

In December, 2012, a class action lawsuit was filed against the UBS Willow Fund. The class action lawsuit may result in a recovery of some losses for UBS Willow Fund investors, however, we are investigating the liability that the brokerage firms and financial advisors potentially have for selling the UBS Willow Fund.

Securities Lawyer, Lars K. Soreide, of Soreide Law Group, who represents clients nationwide before FINRA. If you invested in the UBS Willow Fund, call for a free consultation with an attorney on how to potentially recover your losses, at 888-760-6552, or visit our website at: http://www.securitieslawyer.com.

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Jan/13

14

SEC’s Statistics Positive News for Investors

The Securities and Exchange Commission, also known as the ‘SEC,’ has filed 734 enforcement actions the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 2012. That is one less than last year’s record of 735.

The SEC’s report should remind investors that investment fraud is still a threat to investors. The SEC filed 147 enforcement actions in 2012 against investment advisors and investment companies, one more than 2011’s record number. The SEC filed 134 enforcement actions related to broker-dealers, a 19% increase over 2011.

On the positive side for investors, the SEC was able to secure more payments for the victims of the fraud. The SEC was able to secure over $3 billion in penalties and disgorgement in 2012 for wronged investors. This is an increase of 11 % over the 2011.

In 2011 and 2012, the SEC obtained orders for $5.9 billion in penalties and disgorgement for the investors who became victims of fraud.

Securities Lawyer, Lars K. Soreide, of Soreide Law Group, represents clients nationwide before FINRA. If you or a loved one have sustained investment losses due to your stock broker or financial advisor’s recommendations, call for a free consultation on how to potentially recover your losses. To speak with an attorney call 888-760-6552, or visit our website at: http://www.securitieslawyer.com.

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Jan/13

9

LPL Sued over Nontraded REIT Sales by Massachusetts

Massachusetts securities regulators sued LPL Financial, LLC, in December over sales practices of brokers regarding the REITs. Secretary of the Commonwealth, William Galvin, charged LPL Financial with a failure to supervise registered reps who sold the nontraded REITs in violation of both state limitations and the company’s rules. The Securities Division also charged LPL Financial with dishonest and unethical business practices writes Bruce Kelly in an article in InvestmentNews.com.

These charges stem from the sales of $28 million of nontraded REITs to almost 600 clients from 2006 to 2009. The Securities Division found that 569 had regulatory violations. These included sales made in violation of Massachusetts 10% concentration limits; sales made in violation of prospectus requirement; and sales made in violation of LPL compliance practices. LPL received gross commission of $1.8 million for those sales, according to the complaint.

The InvestmentNews.com article goes on to say that the largest amount of sales was for Inland American Real Estate Trust Inc., the largest nontraded REIT in the industry, with $11.2 billion in real estate assets. Massachusetts investors put at least $20.1 million in Inland American, which is currently the focus of a fact-finding investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Massachusetts is seeking full restitution to clients in the state who were sold REITs allegedly in violation of state and prospectus requirements. It is also seeking an unspecified administrative fine against the firm.

LPL Financial is the largest independent broker-dealer, with more than 13,000 registered reps and advisers. Along with Ameriprise Financial Inc., it is one of the largest sellers of nontraded REITs, which are sold only through independent broker-dealers. The investments are marketed as a way to diversify an investor’s portfolio and generate income.

Nontraded REITs, which had over $10 billion in sales in 2012, have drawn attention from regulators and the market recently. Many notable REITs took hits in 2008 and 2009 during the broad downturn of the commercial real estate market. Some of the industry’s largest REITs have suffered a drop in valuations of 25% to 50%, and some REITs have also cut dividends to investors.

Securities Attorney, Lars Soreide, of Soreide Law Group, PLLC, has represented clients nationwide. If you or a family member have experienced losses through LPL Financial, LLC, call a Securities Arbitration Lawyer for a free consultation on how to potentially recover your losses. To speak with an attorney, call 888-760-6552, or visit http://www.securitieslawyer.com.
Soreide Law Group, PLLC., representing investors nationwide before FINRA the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

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