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Michigan Securities Attorneys

Stock Fraud Cases in Michigan: Why You May Need a Michigan Securities Attorney Lake landscape

You might be surprised to know that Michigan retirees are often “in the Top 10 among claims filed in Ponzi schemes,” according to the Detroit Free Press. For example, well-paid auto employees with large pensions are targets for con artists, who prey on hardworking folks.

No matter their background, however, anyone can be a victim of securities fraud and find themselves in need of a Michigan securities attorney. One recent case illustrates this startling reality. Michigan residents found themselves affected by a massive Ponzi scheme. “Nearly two dozen insurance agents and other sellers hooked about 230 Michigan retirees and investors with what seemed like a low-risk, short-term investment in mortgage-related notes connected to the Woodbridge Group,” the Detroit Free Press reported on May 2, 2019. Michigan investors invested more than $14 million in what turned out to be a Ponzi scheme.

Michigan brokers encouraged investors to invest in—and then renew—short-term promissory notes. FINRA suspended broker Gary Forrest (CRD#: 1313782) after he sold $826,986 in promissory notes. He “sold away” from his member firm, American Portfolios Financial Services, facilitating outside securities transactions without his firm’s approval. In other instances, unregistered brokers sold unregistered securities, flouting Michigan securities regulations. Selling promissory notes is one of the most common ways brokers engage in “selling away.” The State of Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) ultimately issued a cease and desist order against the Woodbridge Group.

The scam’s ringleader, Robert Shapiro of the Woodbridge Group of Companies, was sentenced to 25 years in prison for the $1.3 billion Ponzi scheme. The Woodbridge Group was running a 30-person boiler room operation devoted to cold-calling unsuspecting retirees. All in all, Robert Shapiro scammed 7,000 investors across the country.

No matter your background, if you have questions about Michigan investment fraud, you may benefit from consulting a Michigan securities attorney and availing yourself of the services of Michigan state regulators.

How the Michigan Securities & Audit Division Protects Michigan Investors

If you have questions about stock fraud in Michigan, you shouldn’t hesitate to contact a Michigan securities attorney. While your first step should be to contact a Michigan securities attorney, it’s important to understand the role of Michigan state securities regulators.

A division of the State of Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), the Securities & Audit Division “oversees the registration of individuals and entities that provide investment-related advice to Michigan residents, the registration and exemption of products, and investigates complaints related to securities.” The Securities & Audit Division also provides information on the Michigan Uniform Securities Act (MUSA), a “blue sky law” designed to prevent securities fraud, regulate Michigan markets, and provide for the registration of investment advisors, brokers, and broker-dealers.

As part of its mission, the Securities & Audit Division hosts educational seminars on topics of interest to investors and makes recordings of these workshops available on the Internet. For example, the agency sponsored a workshop on elder abuse, which was hosted by Ryan C. Painter, Director of the Elder Justice and At-Risk Adult Project of the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan. A video of the seminar can be viewed here.

While LARA does important work to protect investors, the agency’s authority is limited. They cannot seek the return of lost funds; only Michigan securities attorneys can do that. To recover funds lost through investment fraud, you should consult a Michigan securities attorney as soon as possible, as the time frame to recover lost funds may be limited.

What Should Investors Do?

While investing in stocks, bonds, real estate, or promissory notes can be exciting and a potential way to build wealth, it is important to stay informed about fraud so that you can protect yourself and your financial future.

If you fear you may have been a victim of a financial crime involving securities fraud, please contact the experienced securities attorneys of Fitapelli Kurta. Our securities fraud attorneys have worked with investors from Michigan. Whether you’re in Lansing, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, Rochester Hills, Kalamazoo, or any other city in Michigan, we’re here to help you. We only get paid if you do. Our attorneys work on contingency: we only collect a fee from clients if we can recover money on their behalf. Call (877) 238-4175 or email info@fkesq.com for your free case consultation.