Musk Mondays: The Real-Life “Rocket Man”

By: Dowdy White, Fall 2018 IAC Student Intern

If you have never jammed out to Elton John’s classic hit “Rocket Man,” have you ever truly lived? The song that has inspired generations of music lovers paints a picture of a fictional astronaut who makes his way out into the great unknown of outer space to pursue the awe-inspiring final frontier. For two decades, we were left to only imagine what this “rocket man” looked like. However, what if I told you that he’s real? And that he walks among us?

If you pay attention to the news and keep up with current events, you’ve probably heard about a company called SpaceX. If you don’t recall this company’s name, maybe you heard about the company that sent a massive rocket into space carrying a Tesla Roadster sports car. If you didn’t hear about that either, are you sure you’re not living on the moon? Continue reading

Billionaires Charged in $27 Million Alleged Scheme

By Lynn Mckeel, Fall 2018 IAC Student Intern

Nothing caps off a Friday like a family friendly fraud bust. Last month, the SEC announced they have charged ten individuals and ten associated entities of being involved in an elaborate and highly profitable “pump and dump” scheme. The fifty-three page Complaint, filed in the Southern District Court of New York, alleges the individuals (including gold tycoon Barry Honig and pharmaceutical billionaire Phillip Frost) “agreed to buy, hold or sell their shares in coordination with one another.”  (See SEC Complaint filed on September 7, 2018). According to the Complaint, the fraudsters allegedly “orchestrated transactions designed to create market” interest in the company. Check out the Complaint for a complete list of the dozens of alleged securities violations. Continue reading

Investor Advocacy Clinic Comments on FINRA Discovery Rule Change Concerning Firm Insurance Information

The Investor Advocacy Clinic continues to give all investors a voice. On September 24, 2018, the clinic commented on FINRA Regulatory Notice 18-22, a proposal that would amend the Discovery Guide’s Firm/Associated Persons Document Production List to require brokers and firms to produce documents concerning third-party insurance coverage upon request.

The clinic’s comment, authored by student attorneys Lynn Mckeel , Ben Dell’Orto , Edward Greenblat , Matthew Haan, Kevin Mathis, Brook Ptacek, and W. Dowdy White, support FINRA’s efforts to allow investors to evaluate whether they should go forward with a claim if there is little chance of discovery. Nevertheless, the clinic urged FINRA to take their proposal a step further and adopt the automatic mandatory disclosure of third-party insurance coverage regardless of any formal written request. Georgia permits any litigant to receive insurance information, upon request, before a suit is even filed.  Moreover, federal and many state courts mandate disclosure of insurance information without a formal request.   Requiring firms to produce insurance information early in an arbitration proceeding helps claimants evaluate whether they are throwing good money after bad.  The clinic’s comment is available in full here.

Investing Crossword Puzzles: MLM Business Models

Multilevel marketing (MLM) business ventures are marketing strategies designed to promote products through distributors, offering multiple levels of compensation.

Legitimate MLM business ventures are legal, so long as its focus is on selling tangible products, not payments made by distributors joining the venture. The promotors receive commissions on the sale of the product, as well as compensation for the sales their recruits make.

The main idea behind an MLM strategy is to increase the number of distributors for the product, and with more salesmen meaning more income.

There are a variety of MLM models. Continue reading

Investing Crossword Puzzles: Red Flags for Investor Fraud

Investments can be both fun and financially lucrative. However, it’s important to remain diligent. Brokers may expose themselves to conflicts of interest, some legal and some illegal. It’s not only the investor but also the broker, adviser, and member firm which stand to profit off of the investor’s hard-earned money. Be wary of brokers who make unqualified guarantees. All investments have some inherent risk. Investors should be skeptical about brokers who make performance guarantees about investment products. Continue reading

Investor Alert: When Being a “Stalker” Is a Good Thing

By Brook Ptacek, Fall 2018 IAC Student Intern

Money attracts people from all walks of life and some of those people may not always have the best intentions. So, it is important as an investor to know who you are entrusting your money to. This seems like simple advice, but, surprisingly, very few investors actually take the time to learn about the person handling their money.

Let me demonstrate: As an investor, you would not just hand your money to someone you met on the street and tell them to get a return for you? Of course not! But what if that person was wearing a suit? And, instead of meeting them on the street, let’s say you met them in an office. What has changed? Besides that person’s clothes and the location where you met them, what knowledge do you have about that investment professional’s background? Nothing! Continue reading

Fund Your Future Paycheck

Is your financial future safe?

Join us for a FREE investor education and protection community event to help you understand how your financial and lifestyle choices today can affect the quality of your life in the future.

WHEN:  Tuesday, October 16, 2018
5:00 PM – 8:00 PM EDT

WHERE: Georgia State University College of Law  – 85 Park Pl NE, Atlanta, GA 30303 Continue reading