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Category Archives: Next Financial

Next Financial to Reimburse Clients $2 Million in Provident Royalties Case

Private-placement lawsuits and investigations continue to make their presence known, much to the chagrin of the broker/dealers that touted some soured deals involving Provident Royalties. The latest B-D to face the music is Next Financial Group, which will pay $2 million in restitution to customers who purchased oil and natural gas private placements of Provident Royalties.

According to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Next Financial sold $20 million of three separate Provident private placements from July 2008 to January 2009. During that time, Next Financial’s due diligence was lacking, FINRA said.

“Despite the fact that Next received a specific fee related to the due diligence that was purportedly performed in connection with each offering, beyond reviewing the private-placement memorandum for the offerings, [Steven Nelson, vice president of investment products and services] did not perform adequate due diligence on the [Provident] offerings,” according to FINRA.

Two years ago, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged Provident with fraud.

As reported Nov. 28 by Investment News, outside due diligence reports highlighted a number of red flags regarding the Provident offerings, as well as the fact that Next Financial and Steven Nelson “should have scrutinized each of the [Provident] offerings, given the purported high rate of returns.”

About 50 broker/dealers sold private placements in Provident, which raised $485 million from 7,700 investors between 2006 to 2009. At least 20 broker/dealers that sold Provident private placements have shut down or declared bankruptcy.

FINRA also levied fines of $50,000 on Next Financial and $10,000 on Nelson, who was suspended as a principal for six months.

Next Financial Hit With $400K Fine By FINRA

For the third time in three years, Next Financial Group has been fined by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). The latest is a $400,000 fine, plus $102,000 in restitution to clients.

According to FINRA’s Broker Check Web site, the action is attributed to Next Financial failing to “have a reasonable system for reviewing the transactions of its registered representatives for excessive trading.”

The allegations by FINRA go on to state that one representative was able to churn client accounts and that Next Financial’s lack of a reasonable supervisory system enabled the activity to go undetected.

In fact, FINRA says Next Financial failed to detect excessive trading by a registered representative in five accounts, resulting in about $102,376 in unnecessary sales charges.

As reported Nov. 30 by Investment News, FINRA also states that Next Financial failed to identify or follow up on other transactions that suggested excessive trading by 13 other reps in 39 additional client accounts.

Even when Next Financial did detect such trades, it took no action, according to FINRA.

Provident Royalties Becomes A Black Mark For Broker/Dealers

Private-placement sales in Provident Royalties LLC have come back to haunt many once-successful broker/dealers. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged Provident with civil fraud last summer, accusing the company and various top executives of operating a $485 million Ponzi scheme allegedly involving phony oil and gas securities.

Fifty broker/dealers that sold private placements in Provident are now being sued by Provident’s trustee, Milo H. Segner Jr. At the same time, hundreds of investors have filed arbitration claims with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

As reported July 11 by Investment News, many broker/dealers facing Provident-related lawsuits appear to have dangerously low net-capital positions – a fact that could put them in peril if they eventually pay out large legal claims over soured Provident deals.

“Broker-dealers facing millions of dollars in lawsuits could be in a world of hurt,” said Carrie Wisniewski, president of B/D Compliance Associates, in the Investment News article. “It’s a big problem,” she said.

One of the broker/dealers named in the trustee’s June 21 lawsuit is Capital Financial Services. It had only $390,000 in excess net capital at the end of 2009. The firm also has at least nine pending arbitration claims against its president, Brian Boppre, totaling $10.8 million in damages.

Next Financial Group also is a big seller of Provident private placements. It had $3.1 million in excess net capital at the end of last year, including $1.1 million reserved to pay contingent legal liabilities, according to Investment News.

Violation of the SEC’s net-capital requirement can signal the end of a broker/dealer. The Provident case – and the resulting legal claims it produced – has pushed many broker/dealers to the breaking point. Okoboji Financial Services, the fifth-largest seller of the Provident private placements, said in May it was closing up shop. Okoboji reportedly had excess net capital of $32,048 at the end of 2009, but made no provisions for legal liabilities.

GunnAllen Financial got caught up in a similar situation. A leading seller of investment deals in Provident Royalties, the broker/dealer closed in March when its available capital fell below the amount needed to adhere to industry rules. At least 10 other firms that sold private placements in Provident Royalties, as well as in Medical Capital Holdings, have shuttered recently because of net-capital issues.

If you are a retail or institutional investor and sustained investment losses related to Provident Royalties, contact our securities fraud team. We can evaluate your situation to determine if you have a claim.

Group Of Broker/Dealers Face Lawsuit Over Provident Royalties Private Placements

Forty-nine broker/dealers have been named in a lawsuit involving sales of Provident Royalties private placements. The lawsuit, which was filed June 21 by the trustee now overseeing Provident – Milo H. Segner Jr. – charges the broker/dealers of failing to uphold their fiduciary obligations when selling a series of Provident Royalties LLC private placements.

The lawsuit hopes to recover $285 million in claims and commissions from the firms named in the lawsuit. As reported June 29 by Investment News, the leading sellers of the private placements in Provident Royalties were Capital Financial Services, with $33.7 million in sales; Next Financial Group, with $33.5 million; and QA3 Financial Corp., with $32.6 million.

Investment News provides a complete list of the broker/dealers named in the lawsuit, as well as the commissions they collected.

“The commissions, fees and payments received from Provident Royalties encouraged and played a substantial role in the negligent and/or grossly negligent conduct of the broker-dealers,” according to the lawsuit.

In July 2009, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a fraud lawsuit against Provident Royalties and several high-ranking executives for running an alleged $485 million Ponzi scheme tied to fake oil-and-gas investments. From June 2006 to January 2009, many independent broker/dealers sold private placements in Provident to some 7,700 investors.

Medical Capital Fraud: Lawsuits Against Broker/Dealers Begin

Arbitration claims involving Medical Capital Holdings are expected to escalate in the coming months, as investors take certain broker/dealers to task over allegations of misrepresentation and omission of material facts in connection to sales of Medical Capital Notes.

On Sept. 18, 2009, a class action lawsuit – Case No. 09-CV-1084 – was filed in the United States District Court for the Central District of California on behalf of investors who purchased securities issued by Medical Provider Financial Corp. III, Medical Provider Financial Corp. IV, Medical Provider Funding Corp. V and/or Medical Provider Funding Corp. VI. In the lawsuit, broker/dealer Cullum & Burks Securities, as well as other broker/dealers, is named as a defendant. Among the allegations cited in the complaint are violations of Sections 12(a)(1) and 12(a)(2) of the Securities Act of 1933.

Specifically, the defendants are accused of failing to exert due diligence and properly investigate certain securities issued by Medical Capital. In July, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed fraud charges against Medical Capital Holdings and related Medical Capital entities. In the SEC’s complaint, Medical Capital is accused of defrauding investors by misappropriating about $18.5 million of investor funds and by misrepresenting to investors that no prior offerings had defaulted on or been late in making payments to investors of principal and/or interest.

According to the SEC, Medical Capital raised more than $2.2 billion through offerings of notes in Medical Provider Funding Corp. VI and earlier offerings made by five other wholly owned special-purpose corporations (SPCs) named Medical Provider Funding Corp. I, II, III, IV and V. Today, all five SPCs are in default to investors after failing to make interest and principal payments.

The brokerage firms that marketed and sold Medical Capital Notes are alleged to have made untrue statements about the investments, including their risks. In addition, many of the broker/dealers failed to make “reasonable and diligent” inquiries regarding information about Medical Capital and its offerings. As it turns out, the information was seriously flawed. And investors are now paying dearly for this breach of fiduciary duty.

If you have suffered losses in Medical Capital Notes and wish to discuss filing an individual arbitration claim with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) or have questions about your Medical Capital investments, please contact us by leaving a message in the Comment Box below or on the Contact Us form.


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