Investment Fraud: Retired NBA Star’s Ex-Financial Adviser is Barred by the SEC, Former Investment Adviser Pleads Guilty in $1.1M Scam, Convicted Broker is Sentenced to 18 Months, and One-Time Pastor Must Pay Back Over $1M to Victims

Ex-Adviser of Retired NBA Player Tim Duncan is Barred from the Industry
The US Securities and Exchange Commission has gotten a judgment barring former financial adviser Charles A. Banks IV from the securities industry. Banks, who pleaded guilty to wire fraud that involved bilking ex-NBA player Tim Duncan, was sentenced to 48 months in prison in criminal court and ordered to pay $7.5M in restitution.

Now, because he committed investment fraud, Banks is also banned from the industry, as well as prohibited from serving as a director or an officer of any public company. Banks also must pay a penalty, disgorgement, and pre-judgment interest.

Banks fraudulently persuaded Duncan to invest $7.5M in Gameday Entertainment LLC by making misrepresentations about the investment. He is accused of misappropriating about $543,000 from the former basketball player, charging Duncan an undisclosed $225K, and siphoning $15K from every $75K/month interest payment that Gameday made to Duncan over two years.

Former Arizona Investment Adviser Enters Guilty Plea
Bart James Ellis, an ex-Arizona financial adviser, has pleaded guilty to transactional money laundering. He is accused of bilking investors in an over $1.1M scheme. As part of the plea agreement, 17 other criminal counts were dismissed against him.

Ellis previously worked for Morgan Stanley (MS) and Ameriprise Financial (AMP).

Ellis is accused of taking money from four clients, including ex-MLB pitcher Steve Stone, by pretending that he was still a financial adviser even though he no longer had his license. Ellis spent their funds on plastic surgery, a vacation, and other items, as well as lost some of their money by engaging in day trading, which was not how he told investors their money would be used.

Ex-Broker Who Pleaded Guilty in $131M Securities Fraud is Sentenced to 18 Months
Gerald Cocuzzo, an ex-broker who pleaded guilty to securities fraud last year, is sentenced to 18 months in prison. Prosecutors accused him of involvement in a scam to bilk investors in ForceField, a company. The fraud involved controlling the company’s share price and volume. According to prosecutors, the investing public lost $131M as a result of the scam.

Cocuzzo is accused of not just orchestrating the trades to make them seem authentic but also of making secret payments to brokerage firms and promoters to sell ForceField’s stock. Meantime, he was paid secret cash kickbacks.

Ex-Investment Adviser and Pastor Ordered to Repay Over $1M to Investors
Mark Q. Stafford is sentenced to 51 months behind bars for defrauding more than 30 investors who entrusted their money to the Stafford Financial Firm. Stafford, a former pastor and investment adviser, promised victims up to 20% returns while generating fake financial statements to deceive clients.

He pleaded guilty to mail fraud and submitting a false tax returns. Stafford founded the New Birth Power Plex Ministries in St. Louis, Missouri. Now, he must pay back investors over $1.1M.

The SSEK Partners Group is a securities fraud law firm.

Court Enters Judgment Against Investment Adviser Charged With Defrauding Former NBA Basketball Player, SEC, July 13, 2017

Ex-Arizona investment adviser pleads guilty in fraud case, Arizona Family, July 14, 2017

One-time pastor, St. Louis investment adviser gets 4+ years for $1 million fraud, St. Louis Post Dispatch, July 11, 2017

Ex-Broker Gets 18 Months for Securities Fraud Scheme, NY Law Journal, July 7, 2017