The Wolper Law Firm, P.A. is currently investigating claims against John Ernst, a former Financial Advisor at Forresters Equity Services in San Diego, California. John Ernst has been in the securities industry since 1989 and previously worked at ING Financial Services.
According to publicly available records released by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), on February 23, 2018, Forresters Equity Services terminated John Ernst after allegedly selling Woodbridge Wealth promissory notes. Specifically, the firm stated:
“The RR violated the Firm’s policies and procedures in that he engaged in an undisclosed private securities transaction away from the broker dealer without approval. Additionally, the RR failed to inform the Firm he was contacted by the State of Wisconsin by letter on November 30, 2017 pursuant to the State’s investigation of the Woodbridge Group of Companies Group, LLC.”
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.
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.
To review a full copy of John Ernst’s FINRA disclosure report, click https://brokercheck.finra.org/individual/summary/1958252#disclosuresSection
If you or someone you know was a customer of John Ernst or invested in the Woodbridge Group of Companies or Woodbridge Mortgage Investment Fund and you experienced investment losses, please contact the Wolper Law Firm, P.A. 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, P.A. represents investors nationwide in securities litigation and arbitration.
Matt Wolper, the Managing Principal of the Wolper Law Firm, P.A., is a trial lawyers 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. His industry insight, experience and knowledge gives his clients a competitive advantage.