- September 4, 2021
- Green Vista Capital
Andrew Miles (CRD#: 5986774) is a previously registered Broker and Investment Advisor at Green Vista Capital, LLC in Winter Park, FL. He entered the securities industry in 2011 and previously worked for The Strategic Financial Alliance, Inc.
According to publicly available records released by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), in May 2021, a customer complaint was filed against Andrew Miles. The allegation states, “CLAIMANTS ALLEGE THAT RESPONDENTS DID NOT CONDUCT A REASONABLE DUE DILIGENCE ON CONSERVATION EASEMENT INVESTMENTS MADE ON DECEMBER 22, 2015, DECEMBER 3, 2016 AND NOVEMBER 24, 2017, THAT THE INVESTMENTS WERE MISREPRESENTED TO THEM AND THAT INVESTMENTS WERE UNSUITABLE BECAUSE THEY WERE MISREPRESENTED TO THEM AND CLAIMANTS DID NOT UNDERSTAND THE INVESTMENTS.” Damages of $126,656 are requested. The customer dispute remains pending.
In addition, Andrew Miles has been the subject of five customer complaints, including four that remain pending, including the following:
● May 2021–”CLAIMANTS ALLEGE THAT RESPONDENTS DID NOT CONDUCT A REASONABLE DUE DILIGENCE ON CONSERVATION EASEMENT INVESTMENTS MADE ON JANUARY 3, 2019 AND NOVEMBER 15, 2019, THAT THE INVESTMENTS WERE MISREPRESENTED TO THEM AND THAT INVESTMENTS WERE UNSUITABLE BECAUSE THEY WERE MISREPRESENTED TO THEM AND CLAIMANTS DID NOT UNDERSTAND THE INVESTMENTS.” Damages of $105,000 are requested. The customer dispute remains pending.
● March 2021–CLAIMANTS ALLEGE BREACH OF FIDUCIARY DUTY, NEGLIGENCE, AND NEGLIGENT SUPERVISION BETWEEN 2014 AND 2020.” The customer dispute remains pending.
● July 2020–”The Customer alleges that Pathfinder Business Strategies LLC/Tax Savings Professionals, an entity owned by Mr. Miles, recommended and sold him clean coal tax credits in 2012. Prior to purchasing the services and tax credits, the customer alleges that he was told that the equipment had been put into service in 2005 and the tax credits were for coal that had already been processed. Due to a fraud committed by the issuer, the IRS denied the tax credits. The customer alleges that Mr. Miles told him that he would “make us whole”, but noted that the E & O insurance carrier would not communicate with or accept his claim until the FBI, DOJ and IRS completed all their decisions and actions. The customer alleges that in Nov. 2019 and July 2020 he submitted a claim. The E&O insurance carrier told him that the claim was denied because Mr. Miles’ policy coverage was exhausted.” Damages of $100,000 are requested. The customer complaint is pending.
● May 2019–”The Customer alleges that Pathfinder Business Strategies LLC/Tax Savings Professionals, an entity owned by Mr. Miles, breached the agreement whereby the Customer was guaranteed tax savings if he used Mr. Miles’ strategies. Moreover, the Customer alleges Mr. Miles directed him to purchase Clean Coal Tax Credit Strategy. The Customer alleges that Mr. Miles informed him that he was the victim of a third party fraud. As a result, the Customer did not receive the guaranteed Tax Savings. The Customer claims damages in excess of $25,000 exclusive of costs, interest and attorney fees.” Damages of $25,000 are requested. The customer complaint remains pending.
● April 2019–”[REDACTED] and [REDACTED] (“Plaintiffs”) allege that Andrew Miles as well as two entities owned by Mr. Miles (Pathfinder Business Strategies LLC and Tax Savings Professionals LLC.) and three (3) other individuals (Defendants”), breached the agreement whereby Defendants would provide tax planning and wealth preservation tax advice. Moreover, the Plaintiffs allege the Defendants directed them to purchase clean coal energy tax credits without properly vetting Ecotec (Issuer). Furthermore, the Plaintiffs allege that the Defendants failed to provide expert tax and/or investment strategies so that the Plaintiffs would receive tax savings; failed to provide expert advice concerning tax deductions, credits and procedures, failed to save Plaintiffs $400,000 in U.S. taxes and failed to refund all sums paid to Defendants among other allegations. Additionally, Plaintiffs allege that Defendants made false statements and misrepresentations about their level of expertise, type of services and vetting process of Ecotec. Plaintiff also alleges unjust enrichment as Defendants received fees, commission, kickbacks and/or other payment in connection with Plaintiff’s investment in Ecotec.” The customer dispute was settled for $500,000.
For a copy of Andrew Miles’s FINRA BrokerCheck, click here.
A conservation easement is a securitized corporate structure that owns real estate. The landowner(s) sells the right to develop that land in exchange for favorable tax deductions. In many instances, investors are enticed with tax deductions worth multiples of the principal amount of the investment. These investment opportunities are pooled together so that they can be marketed and sold to a broad audience of investors across the country. In theory, there is less development and impact to the ecosystem, which makes the investments also appear socially conscious.
Through a network of brokerage firms and Financial Advisors, retail investors are sold these opportunities and, in exchange, receive high commissions. However, the issuers of the conservation easements and the brokerage firms that are marketing and selling them to retail investors do not have opinion letters from the IRS confirming the advantageous tax treatment.
The IRS and Department of Justice (DOJ) are believed to be narrowing in on selling groups who were involved in the marketing and sale of these fraudulent products. In November 2019, the IRS issued a notice indicating that it was “increasing its enforcement actions for syndicated conservation easement transactions, a priority compliance area for the agency.” The IRS went on to state that “we will not stop in our pursuit of everyone involved in the creation, marketing, promotion and wrongful acquisition of highly inflated deductions based on these aggressive transactions.” The conservation easement investments were among the “dirty dozen” investments.
In a recently filed case against a large conservation easement issuer, Ecovest Capital, Inc., the Department of Justice alleges that the Ecovest conservation easement was nothing more than “the sale of grossly overvalued federal tax deductions under the guise of investing in a partnership.”
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.
Reasonable basis suitability requires that a recommended investment or investment strategy be suitable or appropriate for at least some investors. Reasonable basis suitability requires an advisor to conduct adequate due diligence so that he or she can determine the risks and rewards of the investment or investment strategy.
The Wolper Law Firm represents investors nationwide in securities litigation and arbitration on a contingency fee basis. 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. We can be reached at 800.931.8452 or by email at email@example.com.