- September 13, 2018
- Woodbridge Mortgage Investment Fund
The Wolper Law Firm is currently investigating claims against Christopher Wendel, a former Financial Advisor at S.A. Stone Wealth Management in Celina, Ohio. Christopher Wendel has been in the securities industry since the 1980s and previously worked at WRP Investments.
According to publicly available records released by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), on June 1, 2018, FINRA sanctioned Christopher Wendel, barring him from associating with any FINRA member as a financial advisor. The sanction arises out of Christopher Wendel’s unlawful sale of “promissory notes in Woodbridge Mortgage Investment Funds,” a ponzi scheme. Christopher Wendel compounded the problem by allegedly submitted false information to FINRA in connection with its investigation.
For years, the Woodbridge Group of Companies, operated a ponzi scheme in which it sold (through outside financial professionals) promissory notes allegedly backed by mortgages. The investment program turned out to be a $1.2 billion ponzi scheme and Woodbridge’s principal, Robert Shapiro is currently under criminal indictment.
According to the SEC’s complaint filed against Woodbridge, the Woodbridge business model was to borrow money from investors in exchange for promissory notes, maturing usually in 12 or 18 months. The notes had an annual interest rate of 5% to 8% payable monthly. The investors’ money was supposed to be issued to lenders in the form of securitized mortgages, but rarely was, according to the SEC. Alan New is allegedly one of the outside financial professionals that sold the fraudulent notes to unsuspecting customers.
In December 2016, Woodbridge declared bankruptcy.
In addition to the FINRA sanction, Christopher Wendel has been the subject of several customer complaints in his career, including the following:
- February 2018—Customer alleged “unsuitable investment recommendation and failure to supervise.” Alleged damages are $150,000 and the matter remains pending.
- May 2013—Customer alleges “Wendel invested a large portion of the client’s assets into REITs that are considered illiquid and that Wendel sold low cost mutual funds to purchase higher cost mutual funds.” The matter was settled for $90,000.
- July 2003—Customer alleged “unsuitable investments.” The matter was settled for $200,000.
- April 2000—Customer alleged “unauthorized trading.” The matter was settled for $130,936.
To review a full copy of Christopher Wendel’s FINRA disclosure report, click https://brokercheck.finra.org/individual/summary/1930870#disclosuresSection
To review a full copy of Christopher Wendel’s FINRA sanction, click https://www.finra.org/sites/default/files/fda_documents/2017055476801%20Christopher%20T%20Wendel%20CRD%201930870%20AWC%20sl.pdf
Financial advisors have a legal and regulatory obligation to recommend only suitable investments that are appropriate for their clients’ needs and objectives. Their employing brokerage firm has a legal and regulatory obligation to supervise the Financial Advisors’ sales practices and dealings with clients. To the extent any of these duties are breached, the customer may be entitled to a recovery of his or her investment losses.
If you or someone you know was a customer of Christopher Wendel and you experienced investment losses, please contact the Wolper Law Firm at 800.931.8452 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your specific situation and the legal options available. The Wolper Law Firm represents investors nationwide in securities litigation and arbitration.
Matt Wolper, the Managing Principal of the Wolper Law Firm, is a trial lawyer who has handled hundreds of securities cases during his career involving a wide range of products, strategies and securities. Prior to representing investors, he was a partner with a national law firm, where he represented some of the largest banks and brokerage firms in the world in securities matters.