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SEC Charges Two Florida Executives In Alleged Special Needs Trust Fraud Scheme

On May 2nd, 2022, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced securities fraud charges against two executives of Synergy Settlement Services, Inc: CEO Jason D. Lazarus, Esq of Orlando and President Anthony F. Prieto, Jr. of Tampa Bay. The two Florida corporate executives stand accused of defrauding individuals with special needs. Here, our Miami investment fraud lawyers provide an overview of the allegations that the SEC has raised against the two Florida executives.

SEC Charges: Diversion of Funds Met for Special Needs Individuals

 In the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida, the SEC filed securities fraud charges against Synergy Settlement Services, Inc. (a Florida company), Special Needs Law Firm PLLC (an associated law firm), and two corporate executives (Jason D. Lazarus, Esq and Anthony F. Prieto, Jr). According to the allegations, the company and the law firm were used to solicit funds from disabled investors and their family members. They were led to believe that they were investing in a pooled trust that satisfied federal requirements for a special needs trust.

However, the SEC contends that Mr. Lazarus and Mr. Prieto unlawfully diverted a significant portion of investor funds for their own personal use. The complaint states that at least $775,000 of money invested to support disabled individuals was improperly misappropriated by the two Central Florida corporate executives. Further, the SEC alleges that Mr. Lazarus and Mr. Prieto were using funds to make investments that were not actually approved by the investors. The undisclosed mutual funds they did invest in paid them double the fees as to what was actually disclosed.

SEC Seeking All Appropriate Sanctions and Remedies 

The SEC alleges that Synergy Settlement Services, Jason D. Lazarus, and Anthony F. Prieto, Jr. violated federal securities law. The agency is seeking all appropriate sanctions and remedies. This includes:

  • A permanent injunction to stop continued operation of the fund;
  • Disgorgement of ill-gotten gains;
  • Payment of financial restitution; and
  • Civil monetary penalties against all three defendants. 

Additional Charges: True Link Financial Advisors, LLC and Kai H. Stinchcombe 

As part of the securities fraud charges filed in the Synergy Settlement Services, Inc case, the SEC also announced additional investment fraud charges against a northern California based firm called True Link Financial Advisors, LLC. Its Chief Executive Officer (Kai H. Stinchcombe) was charged as well. The SEC alleges that the firm and CEO engaged in a similar type of misconduct involving pooled trusts.

Consult With a Securities Fraud Attorney in Southeast Florida Today

At ​Carlson & Associates, P.A., our Florida investor losses attorneys are committed to doing what it takes to get our clients the best possible outcome. If you or your loved one suffered losses in an investment fraud scheme, you need strong legal representation. Call us now to learn more about how our securities fraud lawyers can help. From our office in Miami, we advocate for the rights of investors in South Florida and beyond.

Resource:

sec.gov/news/press-release/2022-76

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