By Greg Wright
MBA, CFE, CFP®, CLU, ChFC
Certified Fraud Examiner
Certified Financial Planner™
Earlier this week, the SEC reached an agreement with Veros Partners' executives Matthew D. Haab and Jeffery B. Risinger. Defendant Tobin Senefeld is scheduled for trial later this year.
On April 22, 2015, the Securities and Exchange Commission filed charges[i] against Veros Partners, an Indianapolis investment adviser, its president, Matthew Haab, two associates, attorney Jeffery Risinger and former stock-broker Tobin J. Senefeld, and several affiliated companies for engaging in fraudulent farm loan offerings, in which they made Ponzi scheme payments to investors in other offerings and paid themselves hundreds of thousands of dollars in undisclosed fees.
According to the SEC's complaint, they fraudulently raised at least $15 million from at least 80 investors, most of whom were Veros Advisory clients. According to industry sources, many of these clients were Indiana dentists.
The investors were informed – according to court documents -- that their funds would be used to make short-term operating loans to farmers, but instead, significant portions of the loans were to cover the farmers' unpaid debt on loans from prior offerings. According to the SEC, “Haab, Risinger and Senefeld used money from the two offerings to pay millions of dollars to investors in prior farm loan offerings and to pay themselves over $800,000 in undisclosed "success" and "interest rate spread" fees.” The SEC also charged Tobin Senefeld’s registered broker-dealer (Pincap LLC) Pin Financial LLC.
On August 16th, according to SEC filings, Matthew Haas agreed and signed a Final Judgment agreeing to pay $183,640.[ii] Haab also agreed in a separate SEC proceeding, to be instituted shortly, “barring him from association with any broker, dealer, investment adviser, municipal securities dealer, municipal advisor, transfer agent or nationally-recognized statistical rating organization.”
Similarily, Jeffery Risinger agreed to pay $100,000. Likewise, Risinger agreed to similar stipulations that he be barred from any future association with any broker, dealer, investment advisor, etc.
Tobin Senfeld currently does not hold a securities license (FINRA CRD #2120820). Further, his broker-dealer, PIN Financial LLC (CRD #132876) was expelled from the securities industry in June 2016.
I understand that the court-appointed receiver, William Wendling, has recovered 20% of investors’ funds.
Veros Partners first came to my attention a year ago when I received a tip that Mr. Haab was not a Certified Financial Planner and at least one of Veros Partners' CPAs were not licensed CPAs. The facts at the time were that -- indeed -- Mr. Haab was not a Certified Financial Planner.
This, in part, led me to construct a short instruction course that I deliver to Senior groups: "Is your financial advisor a crook?" I teach Seniors how to use public sources and verify the professional credentials and complaints that may have been filed against one or more of their financial advisors.