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This is a photo of the National Register of Historic Places listing with reference number 7000063

Monday, July 26, 2010

THE SEC STOPS FRAUD IN BEVERLY HILLS

The following article was released by the SEC on January 11, 2010. It is in regards to a fraud scheme in Beverly Hills which targeted the Iranian Americans community.

“Washington, D.C., Jan. 11, 2010 — The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that it has charged Beverly Hills, Calif.-based NewPoint Financial Services, Inc. and its co-owners and controller for conducting an unregistered offering fraud aimed at Iranian-Americans in the Los Angeles area. The SEC obtained an emergency court order to freeze their assets and preserve remaining funds that were collected from investors.
The SEC’s complaint, filed in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, alleges that NewPoint, co-owners John Farahi and Gissou Rastegar Farahi, and its controller Elaheh Amouei targeted investors in the Iranian-American community by touting New Point on a daily finance radio program that John Farahi hosts on a Farsi language radio station in the Los Angeles area. The SEC alleges that the Farahis or Amouei would then make appointments with interested listeners to discuss investment opportunities offered by NewPoint, and misled more than 100 investors into purchasing more than $20 million worth of debentures that they falsely told them were low-risk. Many investors also were falsely told that they were investing in FDIC-insured certificates of deposit, government bonds, or corporate bonds issued by companies backed by funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). The SEC alleges that most of the money raised was instead transferred to accounts controlled by the Farahis to, among other things, fund construction of their multi-million dollar personal residence in Beverly Hills.

“They lured victims with false promises of investment safety while secretly enriching themselves and diverting investor funds for their personal use,” said Rosalind R. Tyson, Director of the SEC’s Los Angeles Regional Office.

The SEC’s complaint further alleges that investor funds were used to engage in risky options futures trading in the stock market in which the Farahis lost more than $18 million in 2008 and the beginning of 2009. Since approximately June 2009, John Farahi and Amouei have made further misrepresentations to investors in an effort to lull them into keeping their money with NewPoint, saying that their money is safe and that they are guaranteed to get the entirety of their investment back. According to the SEC’s complaint, NewPoint lacks sufficient funds to make all investors whole, and John Farahi has been paying back some investors on a selective basis while failing to return money to other investors asking for a return of their investment.

The SEC has obtained a court order (1) freezing the assets of NewPoint, the Farahis, and Triple “J”; (2) appointing a temporary receiver over NewPoint and Triple “J”; (3) preventing the destruction of documents; (4) requiring accountings from NewPoint, the Farahis, and Triple “J”; and (5) temporarily enjoining NewPoint, the Farahis, and Amouei from future violations of the registration and antifraud violations of the federal securities laws. The SEC also seeks preliminary and permanent injunctions and civil penalties against the defendants and disgorgement with prejudgment interest against NewPoint, the Farahis, and Triple “J.” A hearing on whether a preliminary injunction should be issued against the defendants and whether a permanent receiver should be appointed is scheduled for Jan. 15, 2010, at 10:00 a.m.”

Sunday, July 18, 2010

GOLDMAN SACHS AGREES TO PAY $550 MILLION IN FINES

Considering all the things that Goldman has had it’s fingers into which led to the demise of the U.S. economy this is kind of an obscure case to bring Goldman Sacs up on charges. The way to think of it is that this is like bringing a gangster to justice not for murder but, for tax evasion. The following is an excerpt from the SEC web site which explains the case in some detail.

“Washington, D.C., July 15, 2010 — The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that Goldman, Sachs & Co. will pay $550 million and reform its business practices to settle SEC charges that Goldman misled investors in a subprime mortgage product just as the U.S. housing market was starting to collapse.

In agreeing to the SEC's largest-ever penalty paid by a Wall Street firm, Goldman also acknowledged that its marketing materials for the subprime product contained incomplete information.

In its April 16 complaint, the SEC alleged that Goldman misstated and omitted key facts regarding a synthetic collateralized debt obligation (CDO) it marketed that hinged on the performance of subprime residential mortgage-backed securities. Goldman failed to disclose to investors vital information about the CDO, known as ABACUS 2007-AC1, particularly the role that hedge fund Paulson & Co. Inc. played in the portfolio selection process and the fact that Paulson had taken a short position against the CDO.

In settlement papers submitted to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Goldman made the following acknowledgement:
Goldman acknowledges that the marketing materials for the ABACUS 2007-AC1 transaction contained incomplete information. In particular, it was a mistake for the Goldman marketing materials to state that the reference portfolio was "selected by" ACA Management LLC without disclosing the role of Paulson & Co. Inc. in the portfolio selection process and that Paulson's economic interests were adverse to CDO investors. Goldman regrets that the marketing materials did not contain that disclosure.
"Half a billion dollars is the largest penalty ever assessed against a financial services firm in the history of the SEC," said Robert Khuzami, Director of the SEC's Division of Enforcement. "This settlement is a stark lesson to Wall Street firms that no product is too complex, and no investor too sophisticated, to avoid a heavy price if a firm violates the fundamental principles of honest treatment and fair dealing."

Lorin L. Reisner, Deputy Director of the SEC's Division of Enforcement, added, "The unmistakable message of this lawsuit and today's settlement is that half-truths and deception cannot be tolerated and that the integrity of the securities markets depends on all market participants acting with uncompromising adherence to the requirements of truthfulness and honesty."
Goldman agreed to settle the SEC's charges without admitting or denying the allegations by consenting to the entry of a final judgment that provides for a permanent injunction from violations of the antifraud provisions of the Securities Act of 1933. Of the $550 million to be paid by Goldman in the settlement, $250 million would be returned to harmed investors through a Fair Fund distribution and $300 million would be paid to the U.S. Treasury.

The landmark settlement also requires remedial action by Goldman in its review and approval of offerings of certain mortgage securities. This includes the role and responsibilities of internal legal counsel, compliance personnel, and outside counsel in the review of written marketing materials for such offerings. The settlement also requires additional education and training of Goldman employees in this area of the firm's business. In the settlement, Goldman acknowledged that it is presently conducting a comprehensive, firm-wide review of its business standards, which the SEC has taken into account in connection with the settlement of this matter.

The settlement is subject to approval by the Honorable Barbara S. Jones, United Sates District Judge for the Southern District of New York.
Today's settlement, if approved by Judge Jones, resolves the SEC's enforcement action against Goldman related to the ABACUS 2007-AC1 CDO. It does not settle any other past, current or future SEC investigations against the firm. Meanwhile, the SEC's litigation continues against Fabrice Tourre, a vice president at Goldman.”

The interesting thing to note is that the above case settlement does not affect any ongoing or future investigations against Goldman for other crimes. The individual investigators at the SEC that brought these charges should be hailed as national heroes. They stood up against the most powerful organization in the world.
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