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The Frankowski Firm is one of the few law firms in the country whose practice is dedicated to representing consumers against stock brokers and brokerage firms. Our attorneys are passionate about helping investors who have been taken advantage of by their financial advisors. While we are based in... More
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The Practitioner's Guide to Securities Arbitration
  • Securities Fraud Trial Delayed For Alabama Tomato Farm Founder

    A judge in Madison County, Alabama has granted a continuation for the trial scheduled for May in an alleged tomato farming scandal.

    James Lawhorne is alleged to have defrauded investors of Cypress Creek Organic Farms. The Alabama Securities Commission charged Lawhorne in December claiming that, while going by the alias "Jim Gilley," he conned investors by guaranteeing returns so that they would give him their funds.

    Judge James Smith granted the continuation on Wednesday until August 10 with the pretrial docket on August 7.

    As of now, Lawhorne is being held in Madison County Jail after his previous bond was revoked after an escape. He removed his ankle monitor in January and fled to Lake Mary, Florida, where it is believed he tried to start up a similar scam with organic pickles.

    Apr 23 5:34 PM | Link | Comment!
  • Ohio Supreme Court Upholds Prison Term In Securities Fraud Case

    The Ohio Supreme Court ruled today that ex-Evergreen Corporation President David Willan will serve his full ten year prison sentence for securities violations under the state's racketeering laws. Writing for the 5-2 court, Justice Judith L. French noted that the court found that the three convictions unambiguously apply and subject Willan to a mandatory RICO sentence of ten years.

    Willan's attorney, Andrea Whitaker, called the ruling "extremely disappointing" and stated that the case will be appealed to the United States Supreme Court on the question of whether the mandatory sentence is constitutional. The appeal will be grounded in a 2013 United States Supreme Court case that held that all facts in a mandatory sentence case must be submitted to and found true by a jury, rather than leaving it to a judge's discretion.

    Justice Judith Anne Lanzinger dissented, noting that the jury at the trial was not asked whether the crime of false representation supported the most grave racketeering conviction. Further, the verdict form given to the jury provided an unclear instruction to find that at least one of the incidents of corrupt activity was false representation, aggravated theft or theft from the elderly.

    Before reaching the Ohio Supreme Court, the case was heard by Akron's 9th District Court of Appeals, which ordered a resentencing hearing for Willan after overturning all except six of his seventy convictions for insufficient evidence.

    Willan was the primary figure in a 147-count Summit County, Ohio indictment alleging him of massive mortgage and securities fraud while operating his Evergreen businesses in Akron.

    Apr 21 6:50 PM | Link | Comment!
  • Former Georgia Attorney Pleads Guilty To Securities Violations

    Hendrickx Toussaint, a former attorney from Atlanta, Georgia, has pleaded guilty in Madison County, Alabama Circuit Court to one count of Conspiracy to Commit Securities Fraud by employing a device, scheme or artifice to defraud, a Class C felony punishable by up to ten years and no less than a year and a day in prison as well as a fine of up to $15,000 upon conviction.

    Circuit Court Judge Alison S. Austin will sentence Toussaint on September 17 of this year. Toussaint's sentence will run concurrently with a federal prison sentence. Earlier this year, Toussaint pleaded guilty in federal court in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia to Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud. His federal sentencing will occur on August 4.

    Toussaint was indicted by a Madison County, Alabama Grand Jury in June 2014. His co-conspirator, Richard David Hall of Huntsville, Alabama fraudulently solicited investors' funds to be used in a managed gold "buy-sell" program. He told investors that their funds would be used to buy gold in Ghana, Africa to be traded internationally, which would make a profit for the investors. This trading, however, never occurred, and investor funds were wired through Toussaint's trust account.

    Toussaint used his position as an attorney to lend credibility to the operation. Hall had even gone so far as to write an "attorney attestation letter" supposedly from Toussaint. The letter guaranteed that the operation was legitimate and safe, assuring investors that their investments would be fine.

    None of the conspirators were registered with the Alabama Securities Commission to legally conduct securities business within, into, or from Alabama.

    Apr 17 4:56 PM | Link | Comment!
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