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Lawsuit Alleges that Irvine Investment Advisor Promoted Ponzi Scheme Posted In: Blog

Lawsuit Alleges that Irvine Investment Advisor Promoted Ponzi Scheme, Engaged in Elder Abuse Against Retirees

LOS ANGELES – Today, the Los Angeles plaintiffs’ firm Heimanson & Wolf has filed claims against a well-known brokerage house and a former investment adviser for allegedly promoting Ponzi scheme investments and preying on retired Filipino-Americans.

The allegations filed with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority or FINRA Dispute Resolution, state that the broker-dealer with AXA Advisors in Orange County persuaded Manuel and Myrna Baculi, a retired couple, and Grace Mendoza, a retired woman, to invest in essentially worthless and inappropriate investments.

“We believe that the former AXA broker made fraudulent statements to retired members of the Filipino community to convince them to invest in companies that operated oil and gas wells in Texas,” said Jeffrey Wolf, a partner at Heimanson & Wolf in Los Angeles. “We are appalled by this egregious conduct which has caused both the Baculis, Ms. Mendoza and perhaps many other victims to lose their hard-earned retirement savings.”

The Baculis allege that the former AXA advisor guided them to invest $50,000 in Striker Petroleum in 2008. In 2009, the Securities & Exchange Commission filed suit against Striker alleging that Striker was essentially a Ponzi scheme. In 2011, the U.S. District Court in Dallas issued an order that investments in Striker were “essentially worthless” and that any losses in those investments were “the result of fraud.” Also this year, the SEC issued a Cease and Desist order against the former AXA broker-dealer for selling other Ponzi-scheme style investments in Striker and other oil and gas properties.

As a result of this misrepresentation of Striker as a “safe investment,” the Baculis lost their entire investment.

Likewise, Grace Mendoza’s Statement of Claim alleges that the former AXA broker-dealer advised Grace Mendoza to invest $36,000 from her 401k into Halek Energy, which she also described as a “very safe investment” with working oil and gas wells in Texas. It further alleges that the former advisor also sold Ms. Mendoza an unsuitable variable annuity that has locked up her assets for 10 years, until she is 80 years old.

Halek Energy, like Striker, was essentially worthless and Ms. Mendoza lost her entire investment.

The FINRA claims seek damages against both the broker-dealer and AXA for the loss of the Baculi’s and Ms. Mendoza’s investments, as well as compensation for their losses, penalties, fees and costs.

About Heimanson & Wolf LLP

The attorneys of Heimanson & Wolf, LLP represent people who have been the victims of investment fraud and deceit. As plaintiffs’ attorneys, they challenge major corporations, global insurance companies, government entities, financial institutions and individuals who are responsible for their clients’ damages. www.hwllplaw.com