Publicly available records provided by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the New Jersey Bureau of Securities accessed on August 16, 2018 indicate that former New Jersey-based investment adviser Richard Belott, and his former employer, Financial Planning Advisors, have been sanctioned by the Bureau in connection to various allegations of fraud.
According to the Bureau’s findings, the allegations against Mr. Belott include selling unregistered securities, acting as an agent without registration, making untrue statements of material fact and/or omitting material facts, engaging in “an act, practice of course of business which would operate as a fraud or deceit upon any person in connection with the offer, sale or purchase of securities,” doing the same upon advisory clients, engaging in dishonest or unethical practices in the advisory business, failing to maintain written investment advisory contract, failing to make and keep required books and records, and making false and misleading statements to investigators.
The Bureau’s complaint states specifically that from about 2008 until 2015, Mr. Belott and his employing firm, Financial Planning Advisors, made fraudulent sales of “at least 6.1 million of unregistered securities to at least eight investors,” including customers who were elderly. The products in question were at least 24 promissory notes that were represented as issued by local diners and a developer. “However,” according to the complaint, “instead of receiving promissory notes from the diners and developer, investors received personal promissory notes from the owners of the diners and the developer, who had undisclosed business relationships with Belott, and in one instance, from Belott himself.”