The following article appeared in the “Tewksbury Advocate:”
“Tewksbury scam victims win $155,250 settlement
By Steve Adams
GateHouse News Service
A Tewksbury couple who lost $255,000 to a Quincy financial adviser’s investment scam have won a $155,250 settlement.
An arbitrator ruled last week that Harvest Financial LLC must repay a Tewksbury couple because it was negligent in supervising the activities of Gregg Rennie, who was convicted of securities fraud in 2010.
Rennie worked at the company’s Providence office from May 2007 until July 2008.
“The firm has a responsibility to supervise their registered personnel,” said attorney Lars Soreide of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Rennie was hired in a managerial role to recruit more representatives, Soreide added.
“That put more of a burden on Harvest Capital to do more due diligence into his background,” he said.
The lawsuit, filed in 2011, argued that Harvest Financial was negligent in failing to supervise Rennie’s dealings with clients.
Soreide’s clients, Dominic and Annette Mancini of Tewksbury, had to postpone their retirement for 10 years after losing their nest egg, he said. The couple invested with Rennie after hearing his financial advice show on local radio stations.
Rennie sold bogus federal “housing certificates” guaranteeing double-digit returns to clients and used the money to pay for personal expenses and to prop up a failing condo project in Quincy. His other victims included an 80-year-old man who lost the bulk of his life’s savings, and a congregation saving up to build a new church.
In 2010, he pled guilty to 14 counts of securities fraud and wire fraud in U.S. District Court. A judge sentenced Rennie, 46, to seven years in prison and ordered him to repay $3.8 million to his victims.
“My clients were part of that restitution order and they haven’t received one penny, and I don’t imagine anyone has,” Soreide said.
Attorneys for Wethersfield, Conn.-based Harvest Capital argued that the company was not aware of Rennie’s transactions and that Rennie concealed his illegal activities from his broker-dealer.
“Harvest Capital is as much a victim of Mr. Rennie as the claimants themselves,” wrote attorney W. Bradford Bernadt.
Rennie was not an employee, but a registered representative, according to the company’s court filings.
On Sept. 26, an arbitrator for the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority ordered Harvest to pay the Mancini’s $158,250 in restitution, or approximately half the amount they requested.
Rennie, 46, is scheduled to be released from a federal prison in Fort Dix, N.J. in 2016.”
End of article.
The Claimants, although Massachusetts residents, hired Florida-based firm, Soreide Law Group, PLLC, headed by Massachusetts native, Lars Soreide. The Claimants located the firm though the firm’s website: https://www.securitieslawyer.com. Soreide Law Group handles FINRA arbitrations and mediations for investors nationwide and can be reached at (888) 760-6552.