January 28, 2010

Medical Capital Investor Alert: Massachusetts Securities Regulators Have Sued Securities America, Inc. for Securities Fraud

On Tuesday, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts filed a regulatory action against Securities America, Inc., accusing the brokerage firm of committing securities fraud on a massive scale. Specifically, Securities America sold approximately $697 million in promissory notes that were issued by entities wholly owned by Medical Capital Holdings, Inc. ("Medical Capital"). Unfortunately for Securities America's customers and other investors, the notes were part of an alleged Ponzi scheme, Medical Capital has defaulted on more than $1 billion of the notes that it issued. Securities America sold $358 million of those defaulted notes. The United States Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") sued Medical Capital several months ago, alleging that Medical Capital was a massive investment fraud, and Medical Capital now lies in an SEC receivership and is the subject of various injunctions and asset-freeze orders.

Similar to at least two nation-wide class-action lawsuits and dozens of FINRA securities arbitration claims that have been filed against Securities America, the Massachusetts complaint alleges that Securities America failed to conduct proper due diligence of Medical Capital or ignored red flags or which it was aware and made "material omissions and misleading statements" in the course of the sale of approximately $697 million of promissory notes to Medical Capital investors.

The Massachusetts complaint states "...all material risks and information regarding MC Notes were not disclosed to investors. These risks were known to [Securities America]. Year after year, the due diligence analyst, retained by [Securities America] to conduct a review of the various Medical Capital offerings, specifically requested and at many times pleaded that investors be informed of certain heightened risks."

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January 26, 2010

Medical Capital Investors Still Owed $1.7 Billion

The court-appointed receiver for the Medical Capital fraud filed his sixth status report on January 11, 2010. As with the receiver’s earlier reports, this report outlines the various fraudulent aspects of the Medical Capital entities. The report also reveals the unchanging fact that investors are unlikely to recover much money from the receivership. Specifically, the report discloses that Medical Capital investors are owed $1.7 billion, which is far greater than the assets available to pay the investors. The receiver’s report further states that Medical Capital’s lending activities were unprofitable beginning with the creation of its first notes, which purportedly were backed by medical receivables.

The report also reveals that Medical Capital was paid administrative fees of more than of $323 million. In other words, more than $323 million of investors’ money went straight into Medical Capital’s coffers. The receiver also reported that: (a) none of the Medical Capital entities ever generated enough profit to pay investors’ principal and interest, and (b) just under $1 billion in loans and assets were transferred among various Medical Capital entities in order to make payments to earlier investors using new investors’ funds. This is a classic example of a Ponzi scheme.

Between the use of new investors’ money to pay earlier investors, “faking” receivables, and fraudulently marking up the value of aged receivables, it appears that investors have lost more than $1 billion and that investors are highly unlikely to recover much of that loss from the receivership. Blum Law Group continues to file FINRA arbitration claims against the brokerage firms that sold Medical Capital notes to investors. Please contact Blum & Silver if you would like to discuss claims that you may have against the brokerage firm that sold Medical Capital investments to you.

January 13, 2010

2009: "The Year of the Ponzi Scheme"

According to a recent Associated Press (AP) analysis, more than 150 Ponzi schemes collapsed in 2009, compared with about 40 in 2008. In other words, nearly four times as many Ponzi schemes imploded in 2009 than in 2008. The AP’s analysis included criminal cases at all U.S. attorney’s offices and the FBI, as well as criminal and civil actions taken by state prosecutors and regulators at both the federal and state level.

In 2009, tens of thousands of investors lost more than $16.5 billion in these investment scams, including the life savings of many people.

The Securities and Exchange Commission describes a Ponzi Scheme as a type of illegal pyramid scheme named for Charles Ponzi, who duped thousands of New England residents into investing in a postage stamp speculation scheme back in the 1920s. Money from new investors is used to pay off earlier investors until the whole scheme collapses. Often there is no "investment" occurring — money is simply being shifted from one person to another, with the initiator of the investment scheme skimming money off the top.

The following statistics from the AP highlight the proliferation of such investment scams:

—The FBI opened more than 2,100 securities fraud investigations in 2009, up from 1,750 in 2008. The FBI also had 651 agents working in 2009 on high-yield investment fraud cases, which include Ponzis, compared with 429 last year.

—The SEC this year issued 82 percent more restraining orders against Ponzi schemes and other securities fraud cases this year than in 2008, and it opened about 6 percent more investigations. Ponzi scheme investigations now make up 21 percent of the SEC's enforcement workload, compared with 17 percent in 2008 and 9 percent in 2005.

—The Commodity Futures Trading Commission filed 31 civil actions in Ponzi cases this year, more than twice the 2008 amount.

Experts attribute the recession responsible for the collapse of so many of the Ponzi schemes, as well as heightened awareness and regulatory scrutiny that resulted from the infamous Madoff scandal.

Blum Law Group routinely represents investors in recovering Ponzi scheme losses, including investors who lost money in Medical Capital Holdings, Provident Royalties, DBSI and many other investments.

November 30, 2009

Broker-Dealers Negligent in Their Due Diligence

Provident Royalties and Medical Capital securities were both offered under Regulation D of the Securities Act (or Reg D). Reg D contains exemptions from the registration requirements, allowing some issuer companies to offer and sell their securities without having to register the securities with the SEC.

Because securities offered under Reg D are not registered with the SEC, the transparency of these companies is limited. Broker-dealers must engage in the due diligence process to determine the validity of the offering, the issuer’s operations and suitability of the investments for their clients. Some broker-dealers engage an outside due diligence firm, whereas others perform their own due diligence, or a combination of both.

Many of the broker-dealers that sold Provident Royalties and Medical Capital securities “relied” on reports prepared by outside diligence firms and actually collected a due diligence fee for allegedly reviewing these reports. The problem with relying on such reports, however, are two-fold: 1) the firms preparing the reports are typically paid by the issuer, posing a conflict of interest and 2) the due diligence firms tend to produce only the most rudimentary information, providing only a brief overview of the issuers and their finances.

As reported September 27, 2009 by Investment News, an undisclosed broker-dealer hired and paid a firm to conduct additional due diligence on Medical Capital. Medical Capital “wasn’t very cooperative” and objected that the firm was going to show the report to more than one broker-dealer. This is not surprising, as any meaningful due diligence would have revealed red flags.

Blum Law Group is aggressively pursuing FINRA arbitration claims against broker-dealers for losses incurred based on recommendations to purchase Provident and/or Medical Capital.

If you were sold limited partnership interests and/or preferred stock in Provident or Medical Capital, contact our office.

November 11, 2009

Securities America May Have Suspected Problems with Medical Capital Notes

A federal court filing by the SEC revealed an alarming e-mail by W. Thomas Cross, an executive at Securities America. According to the July 2008 e-mail to a Medical Capital official, Mr. Cross feared a panicked run on the bank because of issues at Medical Capital. This e-mail is dated months before Securities America stopped selling the Medical Capital notes.

The SEC alleges that, since 2003, Medical Capital has raised more than $2.2 billion through private securities offerings in the form of notes, and that since August 2008, nearly $1 billion of the notes have been in default or were late in paying principal and/or interest.

July 15, 2009

BLUM & SILVER CONTINUES TO FILE ARBITRATION CLAIMS AGAINST UBS FOR THE SALE OF LEHMAN PRINCIPAL PROTECTED NOTES

UBS sold approximately $1 Billion of Lehman Structured Notes in the United States. Many of these "Structured Notes" were called "Principal Protected Notes." Many of these "Principal Protected Notes" were sold as safe, conservative investments that provide income. The ugly reality is that these investments were high-risk products secured only by a promise of Lehman Brother Holdings Inc. to repay the principal.