In July 2014, we wrote about the dismantling of the Pennsylvania Securities Commissioner, which was seen as an impediement to “capital formation” in the Keystone State. We called it: Securities Fraudsters: You have a friend in Pennsylvania.
So here we go again.
By way of background, each year in Pennsylvania, investors conservatively lose $3 billion as the result of securities fraud, Ponzi schemes and the sale of unregistered securities.
Just within the last few years, we saw the Manny Sarris cases. The William Bucci case. Malcolm Segal‘s $3 million theft. Altoona’s Douglas Simanski’s $3.7 million theft, and probably dozens more that we do not know about, or based upon confidentiality provisions in a settlement agreement, we cannot at least write about. We could write a handbook on hedge fund fraud and misappropriation by investment advisors.
Where has Pennsylvnia been in all this? The Answer is no where.
On its website, The Pennylavnia Department of Banking and Securities, does not list any recent securities related enforcement proceedings. It does however have a publicaton entitled The Quarter Newsletter, “A Well Informed Market Place,” so we looked there to find out what “new” is going on in Pennsylvania.
We already knew what was new in Pennsylvania because last week we attempted to obtain the complete regulatory records of a stockbroker with nine “disclosed” complaints that we had just sued for selling stuctured notes to an elderly couple in Pennsylvania. We knew, or at least suspected, that there were other complaints that appear to have been lost (or removed from public disclosure after two years) and we wanted to turn to our State Regulators to get the full Legacy CRD (Registration Record).
We knew from our earlier experiences that these records are now not simply available by e-mail request, and that we had to file a formal Right to Know Request. What we did not know is that the Commonwealth now wants to charge several hundred dollars or 25 cents per page for electronic documents, which are free everywhere else, and should otherwise be available at a click of the button. (The Commonwealth also has a new policy of redacting the names of complaining customers, of course to protect their privacy interests).
So we aleady knew what was new in Pennsylvania, but wanted to check anyway.
On the Pennylavnia Department of Banking and Securities website, we cannot find any enforcement actions, but what we did find is that they are having a party. According to the Quarter, “the department will be hosting a statewide conference of investment professionals and regulators that will take place October 26, 2017, at the Radisson Hotel Harrisburg in Camp Hill. The 2017 conference will be designed to keep investment professionals and their firms up-to-date on changes to federal and state securities laws and regulations, as well as securities offerings registration and exemption requirements.”
That is right, they are having a party to keep everyone (the industry) up-to-date on Crowd Funding and the JOBS Act, which basically allows companies to sell securities without any registration requirements at all. The North American Securities Administrator Association of State Securities Regulators or NASAA is worried about crowd funding: NASAA: The JOBS Act an Investor Protection Disaster Waiting to Happen. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority or FINRA, does not appear to like crowd funding either: Crowdfunding and the JOBS Act: What Investors Should Know. However, in Pennsylvania we are throwing a party to keep the industry “up-to-date on these new changes” (or the relaxation of the rules).
It also seems that the Pennylavnia Department of Banking and Securities has a new Secretary: Robin L. Wiessmann.
Who is Robin L. Wiessmann? According to Wikipedia, Wiessmann is a “public finance professional and has helped fund infrastructure, schools, and hospitals throughout her career. Prior to her term as Treasurer of Pennsylvania, she served as a Deputy Director of Finance for the City of Philadelphia, where she helped manage the city’s debt offerings. She also served as a vice president of public finance at Goldman Sachs.”
According to CRD Records, Robin L. Wiessmann is a stockbroker. She left Goldman Sachs in 1990, and since 1990, Ms. Wiessman has been associated with a number of different broker-dealers, including Sands Brothers & Co., Ltd. Sands Brothers & Co., Ltd. withdrew from NASD/FINRA membership in 2004, following more than $400,000 in unpaid fines by both the NASD and the NYSE, and a $2.2 million unpaid arbitration award.
It is not Ms. Wiessmann’s fault, she just worked there.
Now she works for us.
Nicholas J. Guiliano has over twenty years experience representing investors before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the New York Stock Exchange and before the National Association of Securities Dealers, Office of Dispute Resolution. Over the last twenty years, he has represented more than a thousand investors from all across the United States and from several foreign countries, in claims against stockbroker and broker-dealers for fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, churning or excessive trading, the sale of unsuitable investments, the sale of defective investments, the sale of unregistered securities, and the failure to supervise. He is frequently quoted in the national media on securities and investment related issues, most recently on National Public Radio. He offers his services on purely a contingent fee basis, and is also a member of Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association.