FINRA fined, suspended, and ordered former Securities America, Inc. broker Michael Anton Crowe of Mesa, Arizona pay disgorgment for failing to disclose a private securities transaction for compensation involving an embattled real estate investment company. The report states that the customers Crowe solicited to invest in the real estate company, whose owner had been the subject of a lawsuit alleging improper use of investor funds at the time of Crowe's solicitation, received no further payments or returns other than an initial return of $1,250 on a $50,000 investment.
According to the findings, Crowe in 2016 solicited two Securities America customers to invest $50,000 in Simply Smart Homes (SSH), a real estate investment company. Investigators wrote that Crowe did not provide written notice to nor receive approval from Securities America before soliciting the SSH investments.
The report states that in recommending his clients diversify their portfolio, Crowe arranged a meeting between his Securities America customers and the owner of SSH, who claimed SSH's business model was comprised of purchasing homes through foreclosure, fixing them, and then renting them for profit.
SSH allegedly promised an eight-percent annual rate of return on investment, after which Crowe's customers wrote a $50,000 check for investment to SSH and Crowe himself received a $2,500 referral fee.
The findings indicate that "a few days" after the investment, Crowe learned of a lawsuit against SSH's owner for improper use of investment funds; instead of 8% as advertised, Crowe's clients received a single $1,250 payment from SSH in July 2016, and nothing more.
Crowe's BrokerCheck report indicates several settled customer disputes, including three from 1993 in which former employer Prudential Securities admitted to criminal fraud by misleading brokers and clients, and two additional financial "comprise" agreements in 2010.
Crowe's other business activities include insurance sales and investment advisory at Verus Capital Partners. Crowe also lists a rental property in Rocky Point Mexico, for which Crowe serves as "rent collector."
The Better Business Bureau's listing for Simply Smart Homes, LLC of Mesa, AZ indicates an April 2017 cease and desist, penalty, and restitution order from the Arizona Corporation Commission. The order's indicated restitution amount is $108,750, with $15,000 in administrative penalties. The BBB lists "Smart Enterprises, LLC" as an alternative name for the SSH business.
If you have invested with Michael Anton Crowe or any broker or financial adviser in Simply Smart Homes (SSH) or another undisclosed and unapproved private securities transaction that has proven harmful to your investments or interests, please call The Law Offices of Jonathan W. Evans & Associates at (800) 699-1881 for an investigation and consultation.