Articles Posted in Securities Fraud

Shawn Edward Good, who was a registered broker with Morgan Stanley it its Wilmington, North Carolina office, was recently barred by FINRA by consent agreement.  Mr. Good also has a pending SEC Complaint against him alleging the following involvement in a ponzi scheme:

  • From 2012 until 2022 Mr. Good solicited customers to transfer funds to his personal bank account, allegedly for investments in real estate and government bonds.
  • In ponzi scheme fashion, the transferred monies were used to repay earlier customers who had also invested, in addition to payment of Mr. Good’s personal expenses.

The U.S. Department of Labor has sounded a warning regarding 401(k) plan investments in cryptocurrencies. In Compliance Assistance Release No. 2022-01 (issued March 10, 2022), 401(k) plan fiduciaries are urged to “exercise extreme care before they consider adding a cryptocurrency option to a 401(k) plan’s investment menu for plan participants.” Because of the risks and uncertainties associated with cryptocurrencies, the guidance document raises “serious concerns about the prudence of a fiduciary’s decision to expose a 401(k) plan’s participants to direct invest in cryptocurrencies or other products whose value is tied cryptocurrencies.”

Under federal laws governing retirement plans (commonly known as ERISA), the investment manager of a 401(k) plan is considered a fiduciary, who must act solely in the financial interests of the plan participants.  Courts hold fiduciaries to very high standards of professional care and prudence.  When these standards are breached, the asset manager can be held personally liable for the losses resulting from the breach. For 401(k) plans, the fiduciary is obligated to evaluate independently which investments are suitable to include in the investment options from which plan participants may choose.  Offering imprudent investment options to participants is considered a breach of duty.

The Department of Labor identified several areas of concern that make cryptocurrencies and cryptocurrency-tied products exceptionally risky investments for 401(k) participants.

A FINRA arbitration panel issued an award last month to a client of Greco & Greco who had filed securities fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, negligence, unsuitability, and other legal claims against UBS related to its Yield Enhancement Strategy, also known as YES.  The award totaled approximately $300,000.00 and included damages, attorney’s fees, and costs.

The attorney’s fees were awarded pursuant to the Washington D.C. Securities Act.

The YES strategy was a high-risk overlay strategy that allegedly was to “enhance” the yield in UBS customers’ accounts through the use of actively managed Iron Condors (an options strategy).  Despite claims of limited risk, the strategy caused significant losses in customer accounts in 2018.

 The SEC and federal prosecutors recently charged a Mclean, Virginia based Morgan Stanley financial advisor with stealing millions of dollars from his customers from 2007 to 2019 when his fraud was discovered.  The SEC Complaint against the broker, Michael Barry Carter (also known as “Mike Carter”), can be found at https://www.sec.gov/litigation/complaints/2020/comp-pr2020-158.pdf


The SEC alleged that Michael Carter stole approximately $6 million by various means, including falsifying internal forms and wire transfers, providing fake account statements, using false email addresses, and making misrepresentations to his customers.

According to the SEC, Mr. Carter has plead guilty to related federal criminal charges.

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