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  • SEC Charges San Diego-Based Investment Adviser

    The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced charges against a San Diego-based investment advisory firm, its chief executive officer, chief compliance officer, and another employee for misleading investors and breaching their fiduciary duties to clients.

    The SEC’s Enforcement Division alleges that Total Wealth Management and its owner and CEO Jacob Cooper entered into undisclosed revenue sharing agreements through which they paid themselves kickbacks or so-called “revenue sharing fees.”  They failed to disclose to clients the conflicts of interest created by these agreements as they recommended the underlying investments to clients and investors in the Altus family of funds.  Total Wealth and Cooper also materially misrepresented the extent of the due diligence conducted on the investments they recommended.  Total Wealth’s CCO Nathan McNamee and investment adviser representative Douglas Shoemaker also breached their fiduciary duties and defrauded clients by failing to disclose conflicts of interest and concealing the kickbacks they received from the...

  • SEC Names David Gottesman as Deputy Chief Litigation Counsel

    The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced the appointment of David J. Gottesman as deputy chief litigation counsel in the Division of Enforcement.

    Mr. Gottesman joined the SEC in 2004 and was promoted to a supervisory role in the trial unit in 2011, where he has litigated cases involving financial and accounting fraud, insider trading, market manipulation, investment company and adviser fraud, offering fraud, and registration violations. 

    “David is an outstanding lawyer, demonstrating great judgment, significant securities law expertise, and a drive to succeed,” said Andrew J. Ceresney, director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement.  “I am pleased that he will bring his considerable skills as a trial lawyer to a leadership role in the national litigation program.”

    Matthew C. Solomon, chief litigation counsel in the Enforcement Division, added, “David has a keen sense of what works with judges and juries and has distinguished himself as an advocate by winning challenging trials against...

  • SEC Charges Brokerage Firm Executives in Kickback Scheme to Secure Business of Venezuelan Bank

    The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced another round of charges in its ongoing case against several individuals involved in a massive kickback scheme to secure the bond trading business of a state-owned Venezuelan bank.

    The SEC alleges that two executives at New York City-based brokerage firm Direct Access Partners (DAP) were integral participants in the wide-ranging fraud.  Benito Chinea, who was a co-founder and CEO of the firm, and Joseph DeMeneses, who was DAP’s managing partner of global strategy, devised and facilitated sham arrangements to conceal multi-million dollar kickback payments to a high-ranking Venezuelan finance official of the bank.  In one instance, DeMeneses made kickback payments from funds he controlled to a shell entity controlled by the Venezuelan official, and Chinea arranged for the firm to reimburse DeMeneses.  The allegations were made in a second amended complaint that the SEC submitted in federal court in Manhattan as part of its...

  • SEC Charges Hewlett-Packard With FCPA Violations

    The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged Hewlett-Packard with violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) when its subsidiaries in three different countries made improper payments to government officials to obtain or retain lucrative public contracts.

    Hewlett-Packard has agreed to pay more than $108 million to settle the SEC’s charges and a parallel criminal case announced today by the U.S. Department of Justice.

    The SEC’s order instituting settled administrative proceedings finds that the Palo Alto, Calif.-based technology company’s subsidiary in Russia paid more than $2 million through agents and various shell companies to a Russian government official to retain a multi-million dollar contract with the federal prosecutor’s office.  In Poland, Hewlett-Packard’s subsidiary provided gifts and cash bribes worth more than $600,000 to a Polish government official to obtain contracts with the national police agency.  And as part of its bid to win a software sale to Mexico’s state-owned petroleum company, Hewlett-Packard’s subsidiary...

  • SEC Announces Charges Against Honolulu Woman Defrauding Investors Through Social Media

    The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced fraud charges against a Honolulu woman posing as an investment banker and soliciting investors through Twitter, Facebook, and other social media.

    An SEC investigation found that Keiko Kawamura engaged in two separate fraudulent schemes to raise money from investors while casting herself as an investment and hedge fund expert when in fact she had virtually no prior trading experience.  In one scheme, she sought investors for her self-described hedge fund and posted on Twitter some screenshots of brokerage account statements suggesting she was personally obtaining incredible investment returns.  However, the account statements were not hers.  And instead of investing the money she raised from investors, she spent it on her own living expenses and luxury trips to Miami and London.  In a later scheme, Kawamura continued to boast phony experience to attract investors to her subscription service for investment advice.  She falsely told subscribers...

SEC Press Releases