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SEC sues Tallahassee-based Advisers for defrauding retired NFL Players

On August 29, 2019, the Securities and Exchange Commission sued Cambridge Capital Group Advisors and two of its principals alleging they defrauded retired NFL players who suffered brain injuries and were part of the concussion class action litigation against the NFL.

The SEC alleges that Cambridge Capital Group Advisors, its president Phillip Timothy Howard, who is a Florida attorney who represented the retired players in the class action lawsuit, and Don Warner Reinhard, a former registered investment adviser who was previously barred by the SEC, with defrauding 20 investors in two proprietary hedge funds operating out of Howard’s law offices.  According to the SEC’s complaint, the defendants advertised that the funds would invest in a variety of instruments, but unbeknownst to investors, Cambridge actually invested almost exclusively in settlement advance loans to more than 70 of Howard’s NFL class-action clients.

As alleged, the defendants represented that Reinhard was an “extremely successful investment manager,” but failed to mention that he had served jail time for bankruptcy and tax fraud, and had been barred by the SEC from working for any investment adviser firm.  The SEC further alleged that Howard defrauded investors by borrowing $612,000 in undisclosed personal mortgage loans from the funds, which he never repaid, and that Howard and Reinhard used investor funds to pay themselves fabricated “broker fees” on settlement advance loans to Howard’s legal clients.  Howard and Reinhard allegedly raised $4 million from the retired NFL players, about half of whom took funds from their NFL 401(k) accounts to fund the investments.

According to Eric Bustillo, head of the SEC’s Miami office, “We allege that Cambridge, Howard and Reinhard defrauded these particularly vulnerable investors, many of whom invested their retirement savings.” Bustillo added that, “Instead of investing all of the funds’ assets as promised, Howard and Reinhard used a significant portion of investor money to line their own pockets.”

The SEC’s complaint seeks permanent injunctions, disgorgement of allegedly ill-gotten gains, prejudgment interest, and financial penalties.

At ​Carlson & Associates, P.A., our Miami investment fraud attorneys fight aggressively to protect the financial interests of investors.

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