October 18, 2011

SEC Charges Mutual Fund Adviser With Fraud

The SEC charged David B. Welliver, who resides in Buffalo, Minnesota, and his investment advisory firm, Dblaine Capital, LLC, with fraud and numerous other violations of the federal securities laws in connection with their management of a mutual fund, the Dblaine Fund.

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September 27, 2011

SEC Charges Unregistered Investment Adviser with Fraud

The SEC brought administrative charges against Shreyans Desai and ShreySiddh Capital, LLC (SSC) alleging fraudulent conduct by Desai in connection with the purchase and sale of securities for individuals who provided Desai with more than $245,000 to invest on their behalf.  According to the SEC, from April 2009 to February 2011, Desai, acting through SSC, an unregistered investment adviser founded by Desai, made numerous materially false and misleading statements to potential investors, including that SSC was a securities broker registered with the SEC and that potential investors would receive returns of at least 50% if they invested their money with SSC. Desai also guaranteed to investors that he would not lose their money. On the basis of Desai’s misrepresentations, five individuals gave Desai money to invest on their behalf through SSC. Desai then misappropriated investor money, using it to, among other things, make donations to a local religious institution and pay the personal debts and expenses of Desai’s family members. Desai also lost investor money through bad trades. To hide the fact that Desai had misappropriated or lost investor money, the SEC stated that Desai provided SSC investors with account statements that overstated the value of the investors’ accounts by as much as 300%.

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September 27, 2011

Adviser Charged with Improper Actions During an Examination

The SEC charged Kurt Hovan, a San Francisco-area investment adviser, with fraud for lying to clients about how brokerage commission rebates were being used and producing fictitious documents to cover up the fraud during an SEC examination.  The SEC also charged his wife Lisa Hovan and his brother Edward Hovan for their roles in the fraudulent scheme at Hovan Capital Management (HCM).

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September 22, 2011

Money Manager’s Fraud Charge Compounded by Failure to Timely Disclose Fraudulent Acts

The SEC charged Barr M. Rosenberg, the co-founder of institutional money manager AXA Rosenberg, with fraud. The SEC alleges that the Rosenberg created the quantitative investment model used by AXA Rosenberg’s affiliated investment advisers for use in managing client assets, oversaw research projects to improve and enhance that model, and exercised significant authority throughout the AXA Rosenberg organization. In June 2009, Rosenberg learned of a significant error in the computer code of the quantitative investment model that disabled one of the model’s key components for managing risk and affected the model’s ability to perform as expected. Clients raised concerns about this underperformance, and Rosenberg knew about and discussed these concerns with others at AXA Rosenberg. But instead of disclosing and correcting the error immediately, Rosenberg directed others to conceal the error and declined to fix the error.  According to the SEC, Rosenberg’s efforts to contain knowledge of the error continued through early October 2009, when he denied the existence of any significant errors in the model during a board meeting discussion about the model’s performance. Knowledge of the error was kept from AXA Rosenberg’s Global CEO until November 2009 and was disclosed to clients in April 2010.

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September 21, 2011

SEC Charges Father and Son With Insider Trading

The SEC charged Spencer D. Mindlin and his father, Alfred C. Mindlin, with insider trading. The SEC’s Division of Enforcement alleges that Spencer Mindlin conveyed material nonpublic information that he obtained in the course of his duties as an employee of Goldman, Sachs & Co. to his father, Alfred Mindlin. Spencer and Alfred Mindlin then traded based on this information in a brokerage account in the name of a family member and in Alfred Mindlin’s brokerage account.

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August 26, 2011

Fraud Charges Brought Against an Adviser for Showing Fictitious Performance Returns

The SEC brought an administrative action against Renee Marie Brown, a Minnesota-based investment adviser, finding that she defrauded clients into transferring their money to Investors Income Fund X, LLC.

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August 11, 2011

SEC Charges Former Investment Fund Associate with Insider Trading

The SEC charged Toby G. Scammell with making illegal profits of over $192,000 from insider trading after he learned from his girlfriend about the impending acquisition of Marvel Entertainment, Inc. by the Walt Disney Company.

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August 5, 2011

SEC Sanctions Trader for Accepting Gifts in Violation of the Investment Company Act

The SEC upheld an administrative law judge's determination that Robert L. Burns, a former equity trader at FMR Co., Inc., a registered investment adviser, had willfully violated Section 17(e)(1) of the Investment Company Act of 1940 by accepting compensation from brokerage firms to which he transmitted orders to buy and sell securities on behalf of certain mutual funds that were advisory clients of FMR. The SEC found that, from 2002 through 2004, Burns sent securities transactions involving more than 2 billion shares to ten firms from which he accepted at least thirty-nine gifts, including wine, travel, and tickets to various concerts, sporting events, and theater productions. For his violations, the SEC sustained the law judge's decision censuring Burns and ordering him to cease and desist from committing future violations. The SEC also ordered Burns to disgorge $141,822.50 and imposed a civil penalty of $40,000.

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August 4, 2011

SEC Charges Portfolio Manager for Failure to Disclose Conflict of Interest

The SEC brought an administrative action against Patrick L. Martin, the former chief manager of LandOak Securities, LLC, an investment adviser registered with the SEC, since April 2000. LandOak Securities is also a broker-dealer registered with the SEC. Martin is currently the sole owner and principal operator of LandOak Securities and has owned at least 75% of it since April 2003. Prior to that time, Martin owned at least 25% of LandOak Securities. Martin has been a registered representative of LandOak Securities, the registered broker-dealer, from April 1996 to the present.

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August 2, 2011

SEC Charges Investment Adviser, Its Principal and Affiliates in Two Offering Frauds

The SEC brought an administrative action against Brian A. Bjork, the Estate of Joel David Salinas, various related entities (Select Capital), Select Asset Fund I, LLC, and Select Asset Prime Index Fund, LLC, alleging that from 2004 through the present, Bjork offered securities in two fraudulent securities schemes, raising a total of $52 million.  

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