Jury Rules in SEC’s Favor, Finds Brokerage Firm and Two of Its Executives Liable for Fraud

Jurors in Manhattan federal court today returned a verdict in the Securities and Exchange Commission’s favor against a brokerage firm and two of its executives.The SEC charged the brokerage firm, Portfolio Advisors Alliance Inc. (PAA), Howard J. Allen, the indirect owner of PAA, and Kerri L. Wasserman, PAA’s president, with fraud and related charges in connection with making material misrepresentations and omissions in American Growth Funding II LLC (AGF II)’s private placement offering. The SEC alleged that AGF II, which raised capital from investors to provide loans to businesses, and its owner, Ralph C. Johnson, promised investors 12 percent annual returns and falsely claimed in offering documents that its financial statements were being audited each year.  The SEC further alleged that PAA, Allen, and Wasserman knew the offering documents were inaccurate yet continued using them to solicit sales of AGF II securities.Earlier this…

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