Investor Claims Top $6 Million as Banned Broker Continues to Pitch Investments

Investor Claims by Vernon Litigation Group relating to banned stockbroker Paul Larsen now top $6 million as Larsen targets Christian investors.

( — October 20, 2014) Naples, Florida — Securities Attorney Chris Vernon filed another claim earlier this month on behalf of a retired investor, before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, relating to the investment advice and recommendations of Paul Larsen, who regulators permanently barred from the securities industry and who is now pitching investment opportunities to Christian investors.

Larsen has a lengthy history of customer complaints as well as personal bankruptcy, and Vernon has now filed over half a dozen arbitration claims against Larsen’s former employer on behalf of investors with loss claims topping $6 million. But despite Larsen’s ban from the securities industry, history of customer complaints, and personal bankruptcy, Larsen is continuing to pitch business investments to Christians related to “impact investing,” or socially responsible investing that advances the goals of Christians’ faith, based on Larsen’s comments reported in Christianity Today magazine.

Larsen was featured in a positive light in the Sept. 8 issue of Christianity Today as a trailblazer touting impact investing, and one who is working to create firms similar to Aslan Global Management, an impact investing firm where the magazine reported that Larsen was a fund manager until 2012. Larsen touted investment opportunities in Africa in the article and noted that Christians are sitting on $400 billion in retirement accounts.

The article did not report that FINRA has permanently barred Larsen from acting as a stockbroker or otherwise associating with firms that sell securities to the public.

“I’m troubled that Larsen appears, based on his comments to Christianity Today, to be soliciting investors outside the regulatory framework of the securities industry,” said Vernon, who represents investors and has uncovered evidence of investment fraud involving hundreds of millions of dollars during his more than two decades as a securities attorney.

“Impact investing is an example of a good idea being pitched by someone investors should avoid,” said Vernon, who has conducted training for accountants and others on performing background checks and due diligence research when selecting investment professionals to trust. (See link at Vernon has repeatedly seen investors invest in a good idea through the wrong financial professional and end up not only with no profit, but also losing their principal investment.

In the claim filed last week, Vernon’s client invested much of his life savings based on Larsen’s recommendations. The client requested investments that would provide income to supplement his social security, but keep principal safe. In response, Larsen placed more than $400,000 in illiquid, high-risk Real Estate Investment Trusts, or REITs, such as CNL Lifestyle Properties, Inland American, KBS, and Behringer Harvard, which is now known as TIER REIT. The client also invested in Gulfwinds Income Ventures LLC, an entity established by Larsen.  Gulfwinds issued Vernon’s client several unregistered promissory notes, the last of which was for $325,000. The notes were not repaid.

About Vernon Litigation Group

Chris Vernon’s law firm is an AV-rated law firm based in Naples, Florida that focuses its practice in the area of financial litigation. His law firm represents investors throughout the United States in disputes involving selling away claims, hedge funds, non-traded REITs, Ponzi schemes, insurance products, trust company malfeasance, and other complex financial issues. He’s been quoted in AARP magazine, Forbes, and Barron’s and has been repeatedly recognized by his peers in The Best Lawyers in America publication in the categories of commercial litigation, securities law, and Bet-the-Company Litigation.


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