Brewer awarded $100,000 over ponzi fraud
Former chief immigration officer Martin Brewer has been awarded more than $100,000 after being defrauded by a Ponzi scheme in the United States.
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority made the arbitration award after Dr Brewer and Richard Weber, a postman from Arlington, Texas, claimed they had been targeted by Richard Gomez, of Legend Securities. Dr Brewer joined the Bermuda Department of Immigration in 1987 and was chief immigration officer from 1996 to 2009.
At a weeklong hearing in Tampa, Florida, he and Mr Weber said Mr Gomez had recommended in 2011 that they invest in the Praetorian Fund, a fraudulent Ponzi scheme, and United States Coal Corporation, an unregistered security.
The hearing was told that Gomez had been employed by 14 brokerage firms in little more than eight years before joining Legend, that he stopped showing up at the office within a short period after he was hired, and that he had minimal production. It also heard that Legend failed to comply with its supervisory procedures over Gomez.
Goodman and Nekvasil, which represented Dr Brewer, announced in a press release that the arbitration panel agreed with Dr Brewer and Mr Weber, and found Legend liable for negligence.
Dr Brewer was awarded $79,653 out-of-pocket losses and a further $26,946 in prejudgment interest. Mr Weber was awarded $70,722 out-of-pocket losses and $16,886 prejudgment interest. The panel also awarded $5,000 in sanctions for Legend’s violation of panel discovery orders, $5,658 in costs and $14,062 in hearing session fees to Finra.
Kalju Nekvasil, of Goodman and Nekvasil, stated: “This award shows that brokerage firms must aggressively supervise their agents.”