Press Releases

Former Western International Securities Brokers Sold Promissory Note Ponzi Scheme to Retirement Age Clients

The Law Offices Of Jeffrey A. Feldman Filed a FINRA Arbitration Claim On Behalf Of An Elderly Arizona Couple, Alleging That Financial Advisers Dawn Bennett and Bradley Mascho, Previously of Western International Securities and Bennett Group Financial Services, Recommended Unsuitable Investments For The Clients’ Retirement Funds, Including A Promissory Note Ponzi Scheme.

San Francisco, CA October 23, 2018 - The Law Offices Of Jeffrey A. Feldman currently represents a senior couple who lost a substantial portion of their retirement funds when investment advisers Dawn Bennett ("Bennett") and Bradley Mascho ("Mascho") allegedly sold them unsuitable, non-conventional investments in private promissory notes, which appear to have been a Ponzi scheme, as alleged in a statement of claim filed with FINRA (FINRA Case No. 18-03176). According to the FINRA arbitration claim, Bennett recommended that the clients purchase private promissory notes in a sportswear company she ran, which she touted as a very safe investment. As alleged in a criminal case filed against both Bennett and Mascho by U.S. federal prosecutors in United States District Court for the District of Maryland, Case No. PX-17-472, the promissory notes turned out to be a Ponzi scheme directly benefitting Bennett and Mascho. On October 17, 2018, Bennett was convicted of 17 charges related to the promissory note Ponzi scheme. Ms. Bennett solicited more than twenty million dollars of investments in the Ponzi scheme from 46 clients between 2014 and 2017, according to evidence presented at the criminal trial. A jury found Bennett guilty of all charges, including conspiracy, securities fraud, wire fraud and bank fraud among others. On June 18, 2018, Mascho also pleaded guilty to charges related to the promissory note Ponzi scheme.

According to the statement of claim Mr. Feldman filed with FINRA, in addition to selling their clients a Ponzi scheme, Bennett and Mascho also sold the clients heavily concentrated positions in metals, and in emerging markets. Mr. Feldman went on to say "In my opinion, it is clear that neither of these concentrated positions were suitable for my clients given their age, the amount of assets they had, and their need for safety of principal." More information about the Law Offices of Jeffrey A. Feldman can be found at www.jeffreyfeldman.com

Financial Advisors at GPS Capital Management Allegedly Recommended a $200,000 Investment in Aequitas Notes for the Retirement Funds of an 85 Year Old.

The Law Offices Of Jeffrey A. Feldman Currently Represents the Son of the Now Deceased Retiree ("Claimant") In A FINRA Arbitration Claim Against GPS Capital Management ("GPS"), and Against Daniel Wu and Dennis Lin Chen, Control Persons at GPS (collectively "Respondents"). According To Allegations In The FINRA Arbitration Claim (FINRA No. 16-02647), GPS Recommended Investing Much of the Claimant's Fathers' Retirement Funds into Aequitas Notes.

The Claimant had opened a joint account with his elderly father, so that the Claimant could manage his father's funds, according to allegations in the claim filed with FINRA. The Claimant sought advice about where to invest his father's funds from GPS, according to the FINRA claim. Per allegations in the FINRA claim, the Claimant made it clear to Respondents that the Aequitas Notes investment was for his father, an 85 year old retiree. An Advisor at GPS then recommended that Claimant put the funds into Aequitas Notes, according to the FINRA claim.

Per allegations in the FINRA claim, Aequitas Notes ("ACF") were a private promissory note investment, which did not meet customer specific suitability standards for the Claimant or his father. With much of the funds raised from sales of the ACF notes, according to allegations in the FINRA claim, Aequitas had been purchasing loans made to Corinthian College students. The federal government had filed a suit against Corinthian Colleges, Inc. ("Corinthian"), a fact which Respondents failed to disclose to the Claimant before he made the investment, as alleged in the claim filed with FINRA. Per allegations in the FINRA claim, the federal government litigation with Corinthian significantly endangered Aequitas' ability to collect on the Corinthian loans it was purchasing with the funds raised from investors like the Claimant. Had the Claimant been given this information, according to the FINRA claim, he never would have invested in the ACF notes. This information also likely made these ACF notes unsuitable for any investors after the September 2014 federal litigation was filed against Corinthian, per allegations in the arbitration claim filed with FINRA.

Aequitas suspended interest payments and redemptions on all of its investment products, including the ACF Notes, in January, 2016, according to the FINRA claim. The Securities and Exchange Commission, on March 10, 2016, filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court of Oregon, Portland Division, against Aequitas entities and three of its key officers (Securities and Exchange Commission v. Aequitas Management, LLC, et al., Case 3:16-cv-00438-PK). The numerous Aequitas entities are in receivership, and a plan has been implemented to liquidate any assets and pay creditors, according to the claim filed with FINRA. According to Mr. Feldman "It is too early to tell if there will be any assets for Main Street investors like the Claimant."