Every day I deal with cases of investment brokers or firms who perpetrate acts of fraud or who fail to uphold their fiduciary duties to their clients. Seeing these actions committed against unsuspecting investors on a frequent basis is what motivates me to work in the field of stock fraud law. Sometimes, however, even I have to shake my head at the depth of which this type of corruption occurs. How one or two individuals manage to get so many others to agree to be complicit in these cases of investment impropriety is often surprising. Such is the case with Bernard H. Butts, Jr., a Miami, Florida-based attorney. Granted, as attorneys, influencing others is part of what we do, but it is generally to protect the best interests of our clients, not to pad our bank accounts.
Last September, the Securities and Exchange Commission secured an emergency court order to terminate a prime bank scam propagated by Butts and several of his associates. Prime bank scams are deceitful investment practices that claim to offer considerable profits on investments, often as much as 100% annually. Typically these work in Ponzi-scheme fashion with those touting the investments ultimately draining the investment funds for personal gain. Such was the case with Butts, his cohorts, and several companies with which they were affiliated.
The SEC’s complaint states that Butts; Douglas J. Anisky; James Baggs, Sidney Banner of Express Commercial Capital, LLC; and Fotios Geievelis, Jr. (a.k.a. Frank Anastasio) of Worldwide Funding III Limited, LLC solicited funds from about 45 U.S. and international investors which amounted to over $3.5 million dollars.