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Category Archives: New England Securities

A Closer Look At New England Securities

Martin Wegener, a former financial representative for New England Securities, is accused of fleecing investors out of millions of dollars through an elaborate investment scam. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed fraud charges against Wegener on June 14, 2010, accusing the one-time broker of scamming investors out of at least $6.5 million.

From December 1998 to May 2010, Wegener worked as a registered representative for New England Securities. According to the SEC, it’s during his employment at New England Securities that the investment scam allegedly occurred undetected.

In the SEC’s complaint, Wegener is accused of encouraging investors to withdraw funds from their New England Securities brokerage accounts so that he could, in turn, invest their money in certain publicly traded securities, publicly traded mutual funds, and other investment vehicles such as certificates of deposit or private businesses. In reality, however, Wegener deposited the money into bank accounts in the name of Wealth Resources.

As it turns out, the sole owner of Wealth Resources was Wegener.

In order to maintain the appearance of legitimate investing, Wegener provided customers with purported “brokerage account” statements from Wealth Resources, which falsely showed that Wegener had placed their money in a variety of investments.

The SEC says that never happened. Instead, Wegener used investors’ money for his personal gain.

Wegener reportedly operated his scam from at least 2007 through March 2010.

New England Securities is the licensed broker/dealer of New England Financial. Whether New England Securities could face regulatory sanctions in the future for failing to properly supervise Wegener remains to be seen. If that happens, however, it would not be the first time that New England Securities has been called on the carpet for supervisory violations.

According to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s BrokerCheck, New England Securities paid a $500,000 fine in connection to that very issue in March 2009. Earlier that same year, the company was fined $1.2 million by FINRA for, among other things, failing to “establish, implement and enforce a supervisory system designed to monitor compliance with regard to participation of associated persons in outside business activities and private securities transactions.”

On March 24, 2010, New England Securities submitted an offer of settlement with the Massachusetts Securities Division over alleged supervisory violations of former representatives and sales of promissory notes.

Stock Broker Fraud Case Involving Martin Wegener Offers Lesson For Investors

The alleged stock broker fraud case involving Martin Wegener offers insight into what investors can do to avoid becoming victims of investment scams. On June 14, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged Wegener and his companies – Wealth Resources, Inc. and Wealth Resources, LLC – with defrauding investors out of at least $6.5 million.

According to the SEC, Wegener was not a registered broker or investment adviser yet told his clients he would invest their money through Wealth Resources. He would then provide investors with purported “brokerage account” statements from Wealth Resources – statements that falsely represented a variety of investments courtesy of Wegener’s “financial acumen.”

Wegener never used his customers’ money for those investments, however. Instead, the SEC says he took clients’ money for his personal use, paid business expenses and made investments on his own behalf in entities where he had an ownership interest. Those companies included WU Ventures, LLC, Secura Technology, LLC, and Trailblazer Learning, Inc., as well as Wealth Resources. Investors’ funds also were transferred to Wegener’s former wife, Kristin Wegener.

The SEC further says that during the course of the alleged scam, Wegener used money from investors to make Ponzi-like payments to clients who wanted a portion or all of their investment returned.

The Wegener case offers several lessons for investors. First, before investing money with any financial professional, take time to verify that the person is a registered stock broker or financial advisor. Is the individual a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)? Does the person have any customer complaints, disciplinary actions, fines, suspensions or other sanctions by FINRA, the SEC or other federal or state regulatory agencies listed on FINRA’s BrokerCheck Web site?

In addition, be leery of sales pitches that make exaggerated claims about the expected profitability of an investment, such as it will double in value in six months. The bottom line, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

Martin Wegener Fraud Investigation

The Martin Wegener fraud investigation is now the subject of a civil injunction action by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). According to the June 14 complaint, the Grand Rapids stock broker defrauded investors of at least $6.4 million from March 2007 to March 2010.

Wegener’s office in Walker, Michigan, has been closed since April following a raid by law enforcement officials. So far, at least two of Wegener’s former clients are suing New England Securities, the company Wegener represented.

In its 13-page civil complaint, the SEC contends Wegener ran his alleged scheme by investing clients’ money in a variety of bogus securities, as well as in two companies of which he had ownership, Wealth Resources, Inc. and Wealth Resources, LLC.

In reality, however, Wegener was keeping investors’ money for himself, while sending out fake brokerage statements to clients.

The SEC also accuses Wegener of using investors’ money to make Ponzi-like payments to other customers who requested a return of all or a portion of their investment.

Maddox Hargett & Caruso P.C. currently is investigating both Martin Wegener and New England Securities on behalf of investors who sustained investment losses. If you have a story to tell related to this matter, contact our securities fraud team. We can evaluate your situation to determine if you have a claim.

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