and NBC News
Home to tens of millions of retirees, Florida has proven to be a hotbed of financial fraud, especially those that prey on senior citizens.
In the early 1990s, it has been reported that thousands of Floridians found themselves to be the victims of a nearly $500 million fraud run out of the Greater Ministries International Church. According to the Florida Department of Children and Families’ Abuse in 2014, their hotline received more than 7,200 reports of financial exploitation of seniors, which represents the third largest category of reported abuse. It is also believed that one in 20 cases go unreported!
It is not only senior citizens who are at risk of being targets of frauds and scams. Hundreds of younger, well-educated individuals who actively participate in the marketplace are vulnerable to fraudulent solicitations. In 2014 DFRF Enterprises LLC, a gold mining company, established both in Florida and Massachusetts along with Heriberto Perez Valdes a former Florida resident and a number of other defendants were reportedly in violation of antifraud provisions for taking part and encouraging a Pyramid and Ponzi scheme. A pyramid scheme serves as a business model to pay individuals to recruit people into a scheme as opposed to selling products. These schemes targeted communities that primarily spoke Portugeuese and Spanish. The company allegedly falsely convinced investors that their company was secure through a dishonest concoction of various narratives including having over 50 gold mines in Brazil and Africa. This purportedly convinced over 1,400 investors to raise over $15 million and DFRF paid commissions to investors to keep the scheme going so that recruitment would remain consistent and keep the fraud going. It was reported that Daniel Fernandes Rojo Filho, Heriberto C. Perez Valdes, Eduardo N. Da Silva and Jeffrey A. Feldman of Florida, Romildo Da Cunha of Brazil, Wanderley L. Dalman, Gaspar C. Jesus of Massachusetts, Massachusetts-based DFRF Enterprises LLC, and Florida-based DFRF Enterprises, LLC were all apparently considered defendants in this case and were ordered to pay disgorgement, civil penalties and prejudgement interest which was upwards of $100,000 for each defendant. Allegedly, Daniel Fernandes Rojo Filho will have to face a $1 million dollar civil penalty as these final judgements are being decided.
Alan G. Heide, the former Chief Financing Officer of 1 Global Capital LLC, was charged with swindled retail investors. He reportedly raised over $322 million dollars, scheming over 3,500 investors over 4-5 years. This company apparently was previously on SEC’s radar for fraud and unlawful sales. 1 Global allegedly utilized investor funds to pay off operating expenses as well as personal luxury. Heide purportedly signed monthly account statements for investors knowing that the value of their accounts are exaggerated and misrepresented. Heide supposedly misstated to investors that there was an auditor encouraging 1 Global’s strategies for managing and computing investor returns. Heide was in violation of the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Act of 1934. These charges warranted a court ordered injunction and penalties against Heide. In addition, the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida declared criminal charges on Heide.
1 Global has apparently been involved in 3 cases with the SEC, including the above case. The first case involved Ruderman who reportedly promised short term turnover for funds that were invested and subsequently used those funds for an opulent lifestyle as well as for managing operations of the company. Ruderman seemingly settled with the SEC agreeing to cease and desist such activities. He was apparently ordered to give up $32 million in tainted money as well as pay $15 million in penalties. Ruderman presumably consented to also give back $750,000 in cash and half of the equity towards his extravagant condominium. The second case involved Weiniewitz who allegedly took part in various broker-dealer and securities registration violations. According to reports, he consented to a disgorgement of $3.5 million in funds and was ordered to pay $150,000 in civil penalties while agreeing to forego taking part in fraud and securities violations.
For two decades, Malecki Law has been representing clients in diverse geographic regions. Based in New York City, Malecki Law houses extraordinary professionals that are hardworking and strive for favorable results for their clients. Malecki Law represents varied client needs in complex cases which make them experienced as securities arbitration attorneys, commercial litigation, unsuitability claims, defective securities products and securities fraud litigators. Ms. Malecki has served on the Board of Directors of the PIABA Foundation, an investor educational non-profit group. She was also appointed to the FINRA advisory committee, the National Arbitration and Mediation Committee (NAMC), which advises the FINRA's Board of Directors. Additionally, she is also a member of and has been on the Board of Directors (and an Officer of) PIABA and a variety of industry associations, making her a well-recognized authority on securities law and investment fraud.
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