Securities fraud arrest for UT man
Securities fraud arrest for UT man
Federal authorities arrested a Utah man in connection with a $65 million securities fraud scam. The scheme targeted investors in western states including Utah and California. The man faces charges of conspiracy, misrepresentations in the sale of investment opportunities. He also faces charges of theft from an elder and employing an artifice or scheme to defraud.

The man, who owned an investment firm known as Total Wealth Management, engaged in the sale of securities without proper licensure. He worked with at least two other individuals, including a California man. The US Securities and Exchange Commission sued the man in 2015, in an attempt to disrupt the scheme.

Investigators say that the man used client funds to pay SEC fines and legal fees. He also misappropriated client funds by disguising the fraud as administrative fees. Further, investigators found that the man accepted kickbacks from investments. They also discovered that many of the firm’s preferred investment vehicles were either bankrupt or close to it. In addition, the man had direct or indirect connections to many of the preferred investments.

The man regularly solicited new investors through a weekly radio program that focused on investments. In addition, investigators found that he regularly promised unprecedented returns on investments, or claimed to have made substantial gains, even during economic low periods.

California securities fraud lawyer


Federal prosecutors vigorously pursue people accused of financial crimes. The federal conviction rate is exceptionally high. That’s why you need an experienced securities fraud lawyer, if you’re accused of financial crimes. Those crimes may include securities fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud, investment fraud, theft and other similar crimes.

Robert Helfend practices law in the Los Angeles area, but takes federal securities fraud cases anywhere in the United States. Securities fraud cases are complex, so you need an aggressive, prepared and experienced lawyer who is not afraid to take on a zealous federal prosecutor.

Don’t assume that there’s nothing you can do to defend yourself, and don’t take a plea without consulting an experienced attorney first.

Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (805) 273-5611, (310) 456-3317 or (818) 591-2809 for an immediate consultation on your Ventura County securities fraud case.

Photo Credit: Nazir Amin, via Flickr.com

LA Securities Fraud Scam Nets CT Man
LA Securities Fraud Scam Nets CT Man
A Fairfield, CT man pleaded guilty to securities fraud charges in a Newark, NJ federal courtroom. The case centered on representations that James Trolice and a partner made regarding eAgency, a Los Angeles company.

The men told investors that their companies held warrants to purchase valuable stock in eAgency, a mobile security application developer. They sold shares of their own companies to investors, who believed they could reap a significant return.

Although the companies initially held warrants in eAgency, the men vastly misrepresented the amount and value of the warrants. Eventually, the men defrauded investors of more than $5 million. The men used investor funds for personal expenses and to finance gambling trips.

Trolice faces a potential sentence of 20 years in prison and a $5M fine when he is sentenced in July. He also faces a 10-year sentence and a $250,000 fine for his guilty plea on one count of transacting in criminal proceeds. His partner in the scheme received a sentence of 6.5 years in federal prison.

Federal securities fraud attorney


Hiring an experienced attorney is important because your attorney’s experience can make a major difference in your case. The best strategy to combat an experienced, aggressive prosecutor is to hire an experienced, aggressive securities fraud attorney. Robert Helfend practices criminal defense exclusively, as he has for more than 30 years. In that time, he has learned what it takes to defend clients facing federal charges.

Mr. Helfend offers exceptional defense, and unparalleled personal service. He manages every case personally, so you always get the most from his extensive experience in criminal defense. When you’re facing federal charges, you need the best, most experienced representation in court.

Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (805) 273-5611, (310) 456-3317 or (818) 591-2809 for an immediate consultation on your Ventura County securities fraud case.

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Securities fraud settlement from local cannabis firm
Securities fraud settlement from local cannabis firm
A Los Angeles cannabis management firm and its owner settled securities fraud charges against the company earlier this month.

Vincent Mehdizadeh, the founder of Notis Global Inc., of Los Angeles, paid more than $12 million in fines to close a stock price inflation scam. Mehdizadeh is also banned from acting as a company officer for any public company.

The SEC says that Mehdizadeh developed a scheme to inflate the company’s earnings and manipulate its stock price. Investigators charge that Mehdizadeh, his fiancée, the company’s CEO and a third party participated in the scam.

The company, formerly known as MedBox, settled with the SEC as well. The SEC claims that the participants shifted stock and cash between themselves to boost apparent revenue. At one point, the company’s shares traded for nearly $100 each. The company restated its 2012, 2013 and 2014 earnings following an independent audit. That caused the share prices to collapse.

Mehdizadeh has previous criminal convictions for grand theft and intent to defraud, along with several misdemeanor convictions. He also owes the IRS more than $3 million. According to SEC filings, the company is currently operating at a loss.

Ventura securities fraud lawyer


Securities fraud convictions can seriously limit what you can do, and can significantly damage your professional reputation. If you face securities fraud charges, your first move should be to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney like Robert Helfend. Mr. Helfend has practiced criminal defense for nearly 35 years, and takes cases in any federal court in the United States.

Securities fraud cases are often complex. They may hinge upon subtleties, so you need an attorney who can bring together the resources you’ll need to defend yourself in court. Many defense attorneys don’t want to take federal cases because the federal conviction rate is so high. You need an attorney who will fight aggressively for you in court, and will work toward the best possible outcome for your case.

Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (805) 273-5611, (310) 456-3317 or (818) 591-2809 for an immediate consultation on your Ventura County securities fraud/DUI case.

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Securities Fraud Plea Leads To SEC Inquiry
Securities Fraud Plea Leads To SEC Inquiry
A recent guilty plea to charges of securities fraud by LA financier Jason Galanis triggered an SEC investigation into the Banc of California. CEO Steven Sugarman resigned last month as the bank’s executive officer after the bank acknowledged it was under investigation.

Galanis pleaded guilty last summer to securities fraud charges, for his role in falsely inflating a company’s stock price. Once other investors had poured money into the company, Galanis sold his holdings in the company. He then transferred the gains to other companies. Those companies had ties to Banc of California board members, and Jason Sugarman, the brother of Steven Sugarman.

Jason Sugarman is a part owner of the MLS Los Angeles Football Club. The club sold the naming rights to its stadium to Banc of California for more than $100 million. Team officials say that they do not intend to withdraw from the naming-rights deal. The bank will not confirm its continued participation.

Analysts speculate that the investigation may focus on a statement issued by the bank last fall. The statement said the Board of Directors hired an independent law firm to investigate Jason Galanis’ connections to the bank. Last month, the bank acknowledged that the first law firm was actually hired by bank management executives. They also acknowledged that the firm had ties to the bank and to Steven Sugarman. The Board of Directors later hired an outside law firm with no previous ties to the bank or to its executives.

Ventura securities fraud attorney


Securities fraud cases – and financial fraud cases in general – can be very complex. Often, allegations of impropriety tread a fine line, and actions that may seem illegal are not. A qualified, experienced criminal defense attorney can hire expert witnesses to help the judge or jury understand the finest points of a securities fraud case.

Robert Helfend is a securities fraud attorney who has practiced criminal defense for more than 30 years in Ventura County and throughout Southern California. He knows what it takes and can bring together the resources needed to defend clients against serious financial fraud charges.

Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (805) 273-5611, (310) 456-3317 or (818) 591-2809 for an immediate consultation on your Ventura County securities fraud case.

Photo Credit: Pictures of Money, via Flickr.com

Ventura securities fraud charge for SB man
Ventura securities fraud charge for SB man
A Santa Barbara man was charged in Ventura County on charges related to a securities fraud. Ventura County prosecutors allege that Stephen Crozier, 64, took more than $500,000 from two Ventura County residents.

According to the complaint, Crozier collected the funds between 2009 and 2016, telling the victims that he would use the money to invest in a number of known companies. Instead of investing the funds, Crozier diverted the money for his own personal use, his living expenses and to pay previous investors.

Both of the victims were female, and one was elderly. The victims did not know each other, but a complaint by one victim led investigators to Crozier’s bank records. From those records, they were able to identify a second victim. He has been charged with 19 felonies, including grand theft, theft from an elder, forgery, money laundering and securities fraud.

Ventura securities fraud lawyer


If you’ve been arrested for securities fraud, investment fraud, grand theft or other financial-related crimes, you need the assistance of an experienced securities fraud lawyer like Robert Helfend.

Mr. Helfend has defended clients expertly in both federal and state courts for more than 30 years, and takes cases in Ventura County and throughout Southern California.

Sentences for financial crimes often involve incarceration and restitution, but incarceration removes a person from the workforce, and felony convictions make finding employment difficult, if not impossible. The end result is that the victim rarely receives restitution. A skilled defense attorney can help balance the state’s desire for justice and the need for victims to be made whole again by working toward sentencing that punishes the offense without eliminating the offender’s avenues for gainful employment.

Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (805) 273-5611, (310) 456-3317 or (818) 591-2809 for an immediate consultation on your Ventura County securities fraud case.
Photo Credit: Nazir Amin, via Flickr.com

Securities fraud appeal settled
Securities fraud appeal settled
Earlier this year, the Second District Court of Appeals informally upheld a plea agreement by two former Southern California mortgage brokers that allowed the defendants to avoid trial and pay restitution of just over $100,000 in a securities fraud case that involved investor losses of more than $8 million.

A local San Luis Obispo judge initially overturned the plea agreement, but was instructed by the appeals court to reinstate the plea agreements for Rodney Jarmin and Tammy Jordan, who owned a firm called Real Property Lenders. In 2011, the District Attorney filed seven felony counts against the pair, including securities fraud. Prosecutors alleged that Jarmin and Jordan had failed to inform new investors that developers had defaulted on loans made by RPL and that the pair had stopped paying dividends on investors’ loans to the company.

In 2015, prosecutors and the defendants’ attorneys reached a plea deal that reduced all seven felony counts to misdemeanors, but prosecutors later objected to the deal and the judge in the case eliminated the plea agreement and rescheduled the trial on the original charges.

Defense attorneys for the pair argued that the judge should not have overturned the original plea agreement, and that it should still be in force. The Appeals Court agreed and indicated that the Superior Court should either accept the plea deal, or allow the prosecutors to plead their case to the Appeals Court.

The Superior Court reinstated the plea deal and the Jarmin and Jordan were sentenced according to the terms of the original deal. As part of the plea agreement, the pair received no jail time, and was ordered to make restitution to the investors in the amount of $114,000.

Ventura County securities fraud lawyer


Securities fraud charges are complex, and criminal cases often involve plea agreements. If you’ve been accused of securities fraud, your first move should be to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney who will aggressively fight to get the charges against you reduced or dropped.
As this case shows, reducing the severity of the charges can have a major impact on sentencing and restitution in a plea agreement. Don’t risk your freedom on an inexperienced attorney or one who won’t fight for you in court.

Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (805) 273-5611, (310) 456-3317 or (818) 591-2809 for an immediate consultation on your Ventura County securities fraud case.

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MN man pleads guilty to securities fraud
MN man pleads guilty to securities fraud
Earlier this year, a Minnesota man pleaded guilty to operating the largest Ponzi scheme in Orange County history. According to federal prosecutors, Gerard Cellette, 51, of Andover, MN pleaded guilty to securities fraudand other charges. In all, Cellette pleaded guilty to 455 felony counts associated with a years-long Ponzi scheme that involved investors from all over the country.

Many of the victims came from Orange County, and provided about $150 million in funding to the scheme. Cellette told investors that he had printing deals with major retailers like Target, but needed capital to perform the work. In some cases, Cellette promised investors returns of 10% over 90 days.

Instead of investing the funds into his non-existent business, Cellette used new investor funds to pay off previous investors, and diverted a significant amount of the money to his personal expenses. Orange County investors lost about $21 million in the scam. Other investors around the nation lost an additional $34 million. According to prosecutors, Cellette used investor funds to purchase lakefront properties, luxury items, and commercial properties.

The guilty plea came with a 35 year sentence, a $40 million fine and a restitution order of $20 million. Cellette does not have the funds or enough assets to make restitution in full or to pay the court-ordered fine.

Ventura securities fraud attorney


Securities fraud charges are frequently prosecuted by the federal government. The size and scope of the fraud often determine who prosecutes the crime. If you’ve been arrested for securities fraud, investment fraud or other similar financial crime, you need an experienced federal criminal defense attorney like Robert Helfend.

Mr. Helfend has more than 30 years of experience, exclusively in criminal defense, and he is ready to take your case. Federal prosecutions are intense, in part because the federal government is very well funded and well prepared to conduct extended prosecutions. You need an attorney who will fight aggressively or you.

Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (805) 273-5611, (310) 456-3317 or (818) 591-2809 for an immediate consultation on your Ventura County securities fraud/federal defense case.

Photo Credit: Psyche Delia, via Flickr.com

Securities fraud sentencing stalled for dairy farm scheme
Securities fraud sentencing stalled for dairy farm scheme
Sharon Palmer, the Santa Paula woman who was convicted of securities fraud in 2015 has yet to be sentenced for the crime. James Stewart and Larry Otting were convicted of grand theft, and a special enhancement of aggravated white-collar crime for their role in the financing scheme for a farm that sold unpasteurized milk.

Stewart formed Rawesome Foods as a members-only cooperative, and sold raw milk produced at Palmer’s Health Family Farms. Palmer wanted to exercise an option to purchase the farm property, which she leased. Palmer, Stewart and Otting conspired to use Otting’s line-of-credit to secure funds for Palmer’s down payment on the farm. In exchange for the use of Otting’s line of credit, Palmer promised Otting the use of 10 of the farm’s 51 acres.

The trio then attracted other investors to repay Otting’s loan. Under the plan, Palmer would make the mortgage and tax payments. The investors were given unsigned deeds of trust, which proved worthless. Investors were instructed to wire the money directly to Otting, or to Healthy Family Farms in an effort to disguise the source of the funds. Palmer, Stewart and Otting knew that the bank that issued the mortgage would have denied the loan had it known that third party investments were involved in the purchase.

This is not the first time that Palmer has run into legal trouble. In 2011, she was accused of purchasing thousands of dollars worth of meat, poultry and eggs, and selling it at local farmers’ markets while claiming that the products originated from her farm, and that the animals had not been feed commercial feed products. In addition, Stewart was accused of illegally importing unpasteurized milk from Pennsylvania and selling it to consumers.

Santa Paula Securities Fraud Lawyer


If you’ve been arrested for securities fraud in Santa Paula, or anywhere in Southern California, you need the assistance of an experienced securities fraud lawyer like Robert Helfend. Mr. Helfend has practiced criminal defense exclusively in Southern California for more than 30 years, and has established a reputation as an aggressive defender of his clients’ rights.

Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (805) 273-5611, (310) 456-3317 or (818) 591-2809 for an immediate consultation on your Ventura County securities fraud case.

Photo Credit: Chiot’s Run, via Flickr.com

Securities fraud rap for Oak View woman
Securities fraud rap for Oak View woman
An Oak View woman was sentenced to seven years and four months in prison for securities fraud. She was also ordered to repay nearly $500,000 to her victims. Gregoria Mendoza operated a half-dozen fraudulent real estate investment schemes that targeted non-English speaking investors in Los Angeles County, Ventura County and Tulare County.

According to prosecutors, Mendoza told investors that their money would be deposited into different real estate funds or used to purchase real estate, but instead, she redirected the money to herself. She was also convicted of a special white-collar enhancement of taking more than $100,000 from multiple victims. The Ventura County real estate fraud unit investigated the case. The court also appointed a receiver to liquidate Mendoza’s rental properties, and to use the proceeds for restitution to her victims.

At the time of her arrest in 2014, Mendoza was a licensed real estate broker who worked in Oxnard and conducted business there under multiple company names. In 2006, Mendoza completed a refinance of a property for one of her victims, and convinced the client to temporarily transfer $200,000 of the proceeds from the refinance to Mendoza. That person was never repaid.

Mendoza also took deposits for real estate purchases from other non-English speaking victims, then prepared documents in English stating that the deposits were loans. The clients signed the documents without knowing their true contents.

Oak View securities fraud lawyer


If you’ve been accused of securities fraud, investment fraud or mishandling client money, you need the assistance of an experienced Oak View securities fraud laywer like Robert Helfend. Mr. Helfend has more than 30 years of experience in criminal defense and takes cases in Oak View and throughout Southern California. He handles each case personally, and will not reassign your case to a less experienced defense attorney.

Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (805) 273-5611, (310) 456-3317 or (818) 591-2809 for an immediate consultation on your Ventura County securities fraud case.

Photo Credit: bark, via Flickr.com

Securities Fraud Scam Nets 5-Year Term
Securities Fraud Scam Nets 5-Year Term
A Newbury Park man was sentenced to 5 years in federal prison for securities fraud. Rod Hommell, 59, was accused of stealing money from an elderly woman in his capacity as a financial advisor. Hommell pleaded guilty in May to selling fraudulent securities and theft from an elder. He was accused of pocketing more than $100,000.

This is not the first time Hommell has been accused of fraud. In December 2013, he was accused of using an elderly woman’s ATM card to withdraw cash. He also stole money from her over a four-year period, claiming to have put the money in non-existent investments. Hommell was ordered to pay restitution to the estates of both victims. He has also been permanently barred from working in the insurance industries.

Ventura securities fraud attorney


If you’ve been accused of securities fraud, investment fraud or other financial crimes involving an elder, your first response should be to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney like Robert Helfend.

Mr. Helfend has more than 30 years of experience exclusively in criminal defense, and has provided superior representation to thousands of Californians over the course of his career. He takes cases in Ventura County and throughout Southern California.

Mr. Helfend handles all cases personally. That means your case will get personal attention from a highly qualified attorney. When you’re accused of a work-related felony, your freedom is at stake. In addition, convictions can permanently impact your professional credentials and your ability to make a living following the completion of a sentence.

That’s a lot to risk on an inexperienced attorney. Rather than taking a gamble on an inexperienced or timid defense attorney who isn’t willing to fight for you, contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (805) 273-5611, (310) 456-3317 or (818) 591-2809 for an immediate consultation on your Ventura County securities fraud defense case.

Photo Credit: American Advisors Group, via Flickr.com