Blog by Bill Singer WEEK IN REVIEW

March 12, 2016

$30 Million Claims By Former Wells Fargo Broker And Customer

Depending upon whether you look at the damages demanded in the initial FINRA Arbitration Statement of Claim or the revision presented at the arbitration hearing, we got two really, really unhappy campers suing Wells Fargo Advisors LLC. Unhappy as in two Claimants seeking in the neighborhood of $30 million. In the end, it's a seven-figure payday. In the end, however, it's really a victory for the forces of darkness on Wall Street. READ

Hiding In Plain Site: Undisclosed Criminal Past Was Undetected

Contrary to what we would all like to believe, it's just not that difficult to hide in plain view on the Internet, which has become less a source of discovery than a device for obfuscation. One can invent a whole new self with ease and, clearly, there just isn't all that much need to erase the unsavory details of a bothersome past. Overwhelmed by the amount of online data or simply too lazy to make the effort, many victims of fraud simply accept too much at face value -- forgetting that the Internet is a faceless parallel universe of make-believe and fabricated factoids.

Truly, it didn't take me much time or effort: I typed the name "Steven Zoernack" into Google search and came across his criminal history, replete with links to all sorts of court documents that were readily available for free on the Internet. Did potential investors do any due diligence on Zoernack at all? READ

Some folks like the smell of napalm in the morning; others like the smell of a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority intra-industry arbitration in which the Claimant first sought about $45 million in damages (subsequently reduced to about $32.8 million in damages). In today's Blog ya got it all. Ya got yer big bucks Statement of Claim. Ya got yer big bucks Counter-Claim and Third-Party Claim. Ya got yer lurid tale of fraud and deception. Ya got a criminal plea, a Securities and Exchange Commission case, and a bankruptcy. Ya got cash awards to the Claimant and the Respondent. Attorneys on all sides are making a killing. READ

SEC Stops Blue Mountain S-1 Registration

Although it would be nice if the Securities and Exchange Commission could routinely engage in a qualitative review of all proposed offerings, in reality, the federal regulator lacks the resources in terms of both dollars and staffing. Consequently, proposed securities registrations are generally submitted to a fairly cursory review focusing on generic checklists of basic disclosures items. Should there be a more rigorous review? Should a federal regulator be engaged in a more hands-on verification of qualitative and quantitative factors? The answers to such questions are not easy. There are those who fear that enhancing a regulator's so-called gatekeeper role could retard capital formation and place expensive and time-consuming roadblocks in the path of raising public funds. In contrast, there are those who argue that our markets are filled with listings and products concocted by scamsters and that victimized markets demand more exacting controls over securities registrations. Notwithstanding that robust debate, consider this recent SEC Stop Order and the alleged misrepresentations and omissions that prompted such action. If nothing else, caveat emptor still has validity. READ

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