Melbourne, Fla. — Charles Schwab & Co.’s misrepresentations about the safety of the Schwab YieldPlus Fund caused considerable harm to the business operations of a California-based company, according to a claim filed with FINRA Dispute Resolution today by the investor rights’ legal team headed by former Securities and Exchange Commission attorney Thomas F. Shine and investor rights’ attorneys Christopher T. Vernon and Thomas D. Mauriello.
The San Diego-based corporation, which develops service solutions for small businesses and consumers, had recently sold one of its business segments and its executives were looking for a safe place to invest the sales proceeds while they laid the groundwork for developing a new line of business for the company.
Charles Schwab’s web page promoting its Schwab YieldPlus Fund invited investors to “discover a smart alternative for your long-term cash.” Charles Schwab touted the Schwab YieldPlus Fund as a safe and conservative “cash alternative” and compared its safety to that of one and two-year certificates of deposit, but investors have seen the bond mutual fund’s price fall by almost 40 percent during the past sixteen months.
The claim alleges that Charles Schwab issued inaccurate statements and omitted material facts about the fund’s lack of diversification and deceived Schwab YieldPlus Fund investors by concentrating the fund in mortgage and asset-backed securities while it recklessly touted the fund’s safety on its web site and to financial advisors who recommended the fund.
In addition, Charles Schwab executives and former high profile fund manager Kimon Daifotis committed misconduct when they embarked on a “damage control” campaign to avert liquidations of Schwab YieldPlus by Charles Schwab clients, the claim contends. Behind the scenes, Schwab dumped 2.9 million YieldPlus shares from the portfolios of its other mutual funds from Jan. 31, 2008, to April 1, 2008, while unwitting Schwab clients simultaneously held on to their shares.
The Shine-Vernon legal team believes that this case is a prime example of the adverse economic consequences of the misconduct and deceptions engaged in by financial firms like Charles Schwab in recent years. It’s not only retirees who’ve been hurt, but also companies small and large who thought they were maintaining their operating capital in safe, conservative accounts.
“This is the type of financial institution behavior that can have a direct impact on Main Street’s ability to create and protect jobs and this misconduct should not go unpunished,” Vernon said.
In addition to the arbitration claim filed on behalf of the corporate client described herein, which will be heard in San Diego, the Shine-Vernon team has filed arbitration claims against Charles Schwab with the Financial Industry Regulatory Association (FINRA) on behalf of investors from California, New York, Texas, Florida, Missouri, Minnesota, Illinois, and Hawaii and is currently investigating claims in New Mexico, Virginia, and several other states as part of its nationwide fraud investigation of the Schwab YieldPlus Fund.
Thomas Shine, a former enforcement attorney with the Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington, D.C., is in private practice in the Melbourne, Fla. area. Securities attorney Chris Vernon is a founding partner of the Naples, Fla.-based law firm Vernon Litigation Group, which represents investors throughout the United States. Thomas Mauriello is in private practice in Southern California and represents investors throughout California.
For information, contact:
Thomas F. Shine, attorney at law
Christopher T. Vernon, attorney at law
Thomas D. Mauriello, attorney at law