On September 30, 2013, FINRA announced that it had filed for a Temporary Cease-and-Desist Order against John Carris Investments, LLC (JCI) and its CEO, George Carris, to immediately halt solicitations of its customers to purchase Fibrocell Science, Inc. stock without making proper disclosures. FINRA alleged that during May 2013, JCI fraudulently solicited its customers to buy Fibrocell stock, without disclosing that during the same time period, Carris and another firm principal were selling their shares.
FINRA also issued an amended complaint against JCI, Carris, and five other firm principals alleging additional fraudulent activity and securities violations. In the complaint, FINRA alleged that while JCI acted as a placement agent for Fibrocell, Carris and the firm artificially inflated the price of Fibrocell stock by engaging in pre-arranged trading and by making unauthorized purchases of Fibrocell stock in customers’ accounts.
According to FINRA’s announcement, Carris and JCI fraudulently sold stock and notes in its parent company, Invictus Capital, Inc., by not disclosing its poor financial condition. FINRA stated that JCI and Carris misled Invictus investors by paying dividends to Invictus’ early investors with funds that were, in fact, generated by new sales of Invictus securities. JCI and Carris did not have any reasonable grounds to expect economic gains for Invictus investors. As of March 2013, Invictus Capital had defaulted on $2 million of Invictus notes sold to earlier John Carris Investments customers, did not have funds to repay them, and has stated that it may be required to use proceeds from its ongoing offering to make repayments. JCI continues to solicit new investments in Invictus – an investment that FINRA alleged is wholly unsuitable.
In addition, JCI issued false documentation that failed to reflect the firm’s payments for Carris’ personal expenses, and failed to remit hundreds of thousands of dollars in employee payroll taxes to the United States Treasury.
It was unclear from FINRA’s announcement whether customers had initiated FINRA arbitrations or any other type of securities arbitrations. Any customer who believes they may have been a victim of securities fraud can contact David A. Weintraub, P.A., 7805 SW 6th Court, Plantation, FL 33324. By phone: 954.693.7577 or 800.718.1422.