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Troubles Grow for Real Estate King Tony Thompson

Failed deals in non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs) and private placements have plagued more investors in recent years, with problems ranging from suspension of share redemptions to inaccurate valuations to outright fraud. Such issues have garnered the attention of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), which is now investigating real estate developer Tony Thompson and his broker/dealer, TNP Securities LLC, for allegedly failing to turn over certain documents to FINRA.

By failing to turn over documents about his business to FINRA, Thompson is in violation of industry rules that require firms and individuals to produce information when asked to do so by FINRA.

As reported March 12 by Investment News, FINRA initially made inquiries regarding the documents two months ago. At the time, Thompson was attempting to “goose sales for a non-traded real estate investment trust, the $272 million TNP Strategic Retail Trust Inc.”

During that same month, Thompson sent a note to broker/dealers hawking the TNP Strategic Retail Trust and proclaiming that its net asset value was 6% higher than its share price. Specifically, Thompson’s note read: “Closing Feb. 7, 2013! Necessity retail: Now is the time!”

As the Investment News article points out, discrepancies between a REIT’s selling price and its NAV could be dilutive to current shareholders and provide brokers with a pitch laden with urgency to sell.

That’s not the only problem on Thompson’s plate, however. He’s also dealing with huge financial troubles, including the default on $21.5 million of private notes that he sold in 2008 and 2009 to raise money for Thompson National Properties LLC.  Last year, that venture suspended interest payments to investors in a private placement – i.e. the TNP 12 Percent Notes Program – that was designed to raise capital for the firm. Many of the investors in the TNP 12 Percent Notes Program reportedly were elderly, retired or conservative investors living on fixed incomes.

According to a July 10, 2012, article by Investment News, 22 independent broker/dealers had agreements to sell the notes, which required a minimum investment of $50,000. Brokers earned a 7% commission on sales of the notes, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

If you invested and suffered financial losses with Tony Thompson, the TNP 12 Percent Notes Program, Thompson National Properties LLC, TNP Securities, or TNP Strategic Retail Trust, contact us to tell your story.

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