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Initial Coin Offerings and the Securities Laws

Regulators have been trying to figure out what to do with the new currencies coming to the marketplace. Bitcoin was the vanguard, bringing its blockchain technology into the public’s view. The Securities and Exchange Commission has issued a Report of Investigation that provides some insight into when these currencies and their rollouts are going to violate securities […]

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Can a California Note Be A Security?

Debt instruments can be securities. Section 3(a)(10) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 explicitly includes “notes” in the definition of a security, but does not include loans. Federal law uses some variation of the factors stated in S.E.C. v. Howey Co., 328 U.S. 293 (1946) n analyzing whether an instrument is an “investment contract” […]

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Is The SEC “Kicking and Mutilating The Corpse”?

I have a written a few stories on the SEC’s case against Louis Schooler and his firm, Western Financial Planning Corp. The Securities and Exchange Commission brought charges against them for a real estate investment scheme. Schooler was selling general partnership interests that owned real estate using what looked like inflated valuations. By default general […]

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Turning a Slimy Internet Scheme Into Securities Fraud

Charles Scoville wants to help you get better traffic to your website. He does it through the slimy method of paying people to click on an ad for your website. But he added in a revenue sharing system. The SEC decided that the slimy method had turned securities fraud. There are many, many, many platforms […]

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Fraud, But Is It Securities Fraud?

Although the Securities and Exchange Commission gets blamed for not bringing enough fraud claims, it’s jurisdiction is limited to securities fraud. When I see a real estate case filed by the SEC I pay attention. The case against Richard W. Davis, Jr. brought the “What is a Security?” questions out. The SEC alleges that Richard […]

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So It’s a Security, But Maybe the Private Placement Was Okay?

The tale of Western Financial Planning Corporation and Louis Schooler first caught my eye because the Securities and Exchange Commission brought charges against a real estate company. I stuck with the story because Western Financial tried really hard to structure the investments to avoid being considered securities. Even thought it tried really hard, a court […]

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Miscounting Residents as Securities Fraud

A recent SEC enforcement action caught my attention because it involved defrauding a landlord and miscounting residents. That left me scratching my head over why the Securities and Exchange Commission was involved with a senior living residence. The SEC Enforcement Division alleges that then-CEO Laurie Bebo and then-CFO John Buono made false disclosures and manipulated […]

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Can an ATM Machine Be a Security?

Nationwide Automated Systems offers turnkey ATM solutions. A turnkey ATM program addresses the need for ATM service, repair, system monitoring, and cash replenishment. Typically the ATM provide will split some of the fee income with the property owner where the ATM is located rather than pay a fixed rent. To raise capital Nationwide create a […]

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Combining Immigration Fraud and Investment Fraud

The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program sounds like a scam so I’m not surprised to see it pop up in actual scams. The EB-5 program provides foreign investors who can demonstrate that their investments are creating jobs in this country with an expedited path to lawful permanent residency in the United States. EB-5 is not common […]

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Not Securities Fraud By Reason of Insanity

Some investment fraud schemes sound crazy, but leave just a enough truthful-sounding bits to catch people. But Thomas Lawler’s scheme sounds completely bonkers. He established the Freedom Foundation to offer investors the chance to erase their debts and collect lucrative profits through the purchase of “administrative remedies”. Never heard of profit-making “administrative remedies”? Lawler can […]

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